I’ve travelled around Morocco through train, bus, and taxi. For me, the fastest, and most convenient way to travel from city to city of this country is through train. Morocco has a good public transportation train system that will make a trip across this country much easier while being comfortably seated. Trains in Morocco are affordable and their high-speed train is no exception. But most locals that I talked to suggested that renting a private car is a better way to explore the country.
Morocco Train System
Rail transport in Morocco is operated by the national railway operator ONCF. This train network connects all major cities – from Marrakech to Tangier, and every city in-between
Al Boraq high-speed trains link Tangier, Kenitra, Rabat & Casablanca every hour using a new high-speed line. Several air-conditioned trains per day branded Al Atlas still link Tangier with Sidi Kacem, Meknes & Fez via the old classic line, and similar Al Atlas air-conditioned expresses run Oujda-Fes-Meknes-Sidi Kacem-Kenitra-Rabat-Casablanca-Marrakech, Regular trains link Casablanca airport with the city centre, and Trains Navette Rapides (fast shuttle trains) link Rabat & Casablanca. Agadir and Essaouira have no railway station, but are linked to Marrakech by connecting bus.
Rapid trains are a part of the high-speed Al Boraq system, while ordinary trains are a part of the train systems. Generally speaking, Al Boraq trains are more expensive than regular trains but they are also much faster. Al Boraq train tickets have two different options to choose from: first-class and second-class. All the cheaper options are slower trains.
Here’s the daily Moroccan train routes to and from the most popular locations:
- Marrakech to Casablanca
- Tangier to Casablanca
- Casablanca to Fez
- Marrakech to Rabat
- Marrakech to Fez
- Rabat to Fez
Traveling First-Class vs Second-Class
Trains are usually divided up into sections. The first-class section will have fewer than six travelers, and the second will have fewer than 10. When you purchase the first-class ticket, you will receive a dedicated seat that has been booked to your name, and a second class ticket means that you’ll have to choose an open seat when you arrive.
For short travel time, traveling first or second class is not a huge deal since it will arrive at the same time! However, if you’re traveling a longer distance, a comfy first-class seat will come in handy – it also will guarantee you have a comfortable seat, as the second class tickets can be oversold and you’ll be left standing.
How to Book a Ticket
You can buy your ticket online through ONCF Voyages and pay it through credit card. All the information on schedules and prices can be found there. You can also buy your ticket in person directly at the train station but it’s better if you buy it online to make sure you get a seat because it can get full especially for big city destinations where there can be a lot of passengers. Make sure to bring cash to buy your ticket as it’s not always possible to pay by debit or credit card.
Here are few observations and tips that I compiled based on my personal experience of traveling around Morocco through train during the COVID19 pandemic:
- Among all the train stations in Morocco, Rabat and Tangier train stations are modern, clean, efficient, and it has restaurants inside like McDonald’s, Starbucks, pharmacy, convenience store, and others. There are lots of seats too inside the station.
- There are hand sanitizers in few areas of the station and inside the train.
- Check the monitors in the train station for you to know on which platform number your train is going to pass.
- Most trains arrive on time but sometimes they do get delayed but just for few minutes.
- If in case you need help or have questions, most staff in the train station can speak English. They’re nice and always willing to help.
- Once the train started running, a train staff will go around the passengers and scan the QR code in your printed or digital ticket.
- There’s a small luggage area where you can store your bags.
- Some trains have a staff that goes around inside the train to sell snacks and drinks
- Wearing mask is not really mandatory inside the train. Some wear masks, some don’t.
- The 2nd class is usually full. The first class is airconditioned and has plugs, more comfortable seats.
- Buy your train ticket the earliest time possible. The cost of your ticket would be much cheaper!
The views, the opinions and the positions expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent those of the companies or any company or individual affiliated with them.