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The Sapsan – Russia’s First High Speed Train

Rail transport provides an essential and cost effective way for visitors and locals to travel in Russia, which stretches across seven time zones, and the country’s bottle-green trains are a common sight wherever you go. December 2009 saw Russia enter the realms of high-tech rail travel with the introduction of the sleek red and silver high-speed train which is set to travel between the country’s two main cities – Moscow and Saint Petersburg. The train has been named the Sapsan, meaning peregrine falcon and no doubt a reference to its immense speed.

During his speech at the unveiling of the Sapsan on 17 December, Russian Railways (RZD) President Vladimir Yakunin stated that ‘This is not just a train and these are not just carriages, this is a different life, different technology, a different means of transport’. The Sapsan has the capacity to carry 600 passengers and reaches a top speed of 250 km/h, covering the 645 kilometer distance between Moscow and Saint Petersburg in a time of three hours and forty-five minutes – a vast improvement over the up to eight hours it took to complete the journey before. To accommodate a train traveling at these high speeds, the railway line between the two cities underwent extensive upgrading over a period of three years, being completed in November this year.

Tickets for the inaugural journey were snapped up as they went on sale on 20 November, with passengers clamoring to catch a ride on the Sapsan. By the time the train pulled out of the station with its first load of paying passengers, more than 18,700 tickets had been sold for subsequent trips, going right up to 31 January 2010.

The automatic doors and huge glass windows add a touch of luxury and convenience, while to the delight of non-smokers, smoking is not permitted anywhere in the train. First class passengers will have the option of watching television if the outside scenery is flashing past too fast. Passengers who have made the high speed journey are enthusiastic about its features, with many declaring that they will be taking the train in future rather than flying. The Sapsan offers the added advantage of starting and ending the journey in the middle of the cities, which is an appealing time-saving factor for busy people. In 2008, more than 6.5 million people traveled by train between Saint Petersburg and Moscow. With the new Sapsan, authorities are confident that passenger numbers will increase dramatically.

 



User Comments & Reviews: 6 Comment(s)

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A GABDO - 2010-03-10 12:54:20

Its amazing

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Russia.com Team - 2010-02-04 12:23:03

Thank you for visiting Russia.com. Please note that enquiries regarding the Sapsan High Speed Train should be directed to the RZD Russian Railways via their website http://eng.rzd.ru/

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peeyoosh b s - 2010-02-01 18:39:23

good news , i look forward to seeing more of these fast trains running between more n more cities , like also till vladivostok ! a friend from india . best wishes from india , nagpur city in maharashtra.

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