Iraq Railways...

Iraq is not the most popular tourist destination at the moment.  But trains are running again between Baghdad and Basra, the main city on the Gulf, equipped with air-conditioning and sleepers.

small bullet point  Baghdad - Basra train schedule & fares

small bullet point  How to buy tickets

small bullet point  What's the train like?

small bullet point  Baghdad Central station


Useful country information

Train operator:

Iraq Railways - no website.

 

Time zone:

GMT+3 all year

Dialling code:

 

+964

Currency:

1 = approx 1,600 Iraqi Dinars.  $1 = approx 1,300 Iraqi Dinars.     Currency converter

Tourist information:

See UK Foreign Office travel advice at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/iraq before attempting to visit Iraq.

Visas:

UK citizens need a visa for Iraq.

Page last updated:

8 May 2024


Baghdad to Basra

An overnight train links Baghdad with Basra every day.  The distance by rail is 541 km (336 miles).

 Baghdad ► Basra

 

 Basra ► Baghdad

Train number:

20

Train number:

20

Days of running: 

Daily

Days of running: 

Daily

 Baghdad Central

20:00

 Basra Al Maqal station

19:00

 Basra Al Maqal station

04:30

 Baghdad Central

06:15

Service was reduced from daily to 3 per week due to Covid-19, it was restored to daily in 2023.

You must be at the station 1 hour before departure for mandatory luggage check.

How much does it cost?

One-way fare (approx)

Sleeper, 2-berth

Sleeper, 4-berth

Seat, 1st class

Seat, 2nd class

Baghdad - Basra

37,000 dinars ($30)

31,000 dinars ($26)

15,000 dinars ($13)

10,000 dinars ($9)

How to buy tickets

Traveller's report

Traveller Andrew Palmer travelled Basra to Baghdad in 2024:  "I was only able to buy a ticket on the day of the journey, and only at the station itself. I tried to buy a ticket a couple of days in advance at the station but it wasn't possible. While waiting at the platform, everyone's bags were set in a row along the middle of the platform and finally a sniffer dog was taken to sniff at all the bags around 7pm.  The train left the station at 7:30pm. The berths were reasonably clean. There is AC, pillows, blankets and a couple of electricity outlets in the compartment. There is a dining car where you can get cheap kebabs, tea, chocolate and Pepsi. The train arrived in Baghdad at 6am. Luggage was again assembled on the platform where it was checked."

What is the train like?

The train is currently a Chinese-built air-conditioned train with a power car at each end, featuring 4-berth sleepers, a handful of 2-berth sleepers, ordinary seats and a buffet car.  The train was only built in 2015, although dust from the desert takes its toll and you'll find some windows cracked from children throwing stones.  The sleepers are in 4-berth compartments, the sleeping-cars are locked off from the seats part of the train.

Baghdad to Basra train at Baghdad

The Baghdad-Basra train in 2019.  Courtesy of Charles Kennedy...

Ordinary seats on the Baghdad to Basra train   Buffet car on Baghdad-Basra train

Ordinary seats.  Courtesy Rik Brinks...

 

Buffet car.  Courtesy Rik Brinks...

2-bed sleeper on the Baghdad to Basra train   4-berth sleeper on the Baghdad to Basra train

2-bed sleeper. Larger photo. Courtesy Luke Heater...

 

4-bed sleeper.  Larger photo Courtesy Luke Heater...

The Baghdad to Basra train   The Baghdad-Basra train

Boarding the train.  Courtesy Rik Brinks...

 

Arrival at Baghdad.  Courtesy Rik Brinks...

Baghdad station

Baghdad Central station was built 1949-1953, designed by British architect JM Wilson, who had been an assistant to Lutjens in New Delhi.  See station location map.

Baghdad station   The Baghdad-Basra train

Baghdad station.  Courtesy Rik Brinks...

 

Ticket windows for the Basra train...

Baghdad station   Baghdad station hall

Map of the Iraqi rail network from 2009.  Courtesy Rik Brinks...

 

Station hall.  Courtesy Rik Brinks...

More information

If anyone has any more information. photos or travel reports that would be useful for this page, please e-mail me!


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