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High Speed Rail

"And what kind of Russians do not like fast driving?" - This quote from the poem of Nikolai Gogol is known, perhaps, everyone in Russia. This national trait of Russian character has always been the driving force in solving the problem of increasing the speed of movement. From the first days of the existence of rail transport, the race for speed began.


Allegro is a modern high-speed train that presents the most cost and time-effective way to travel between the two Northern Capitals of Helsinki and St. Petersburg. Operated by a joint venture between the state railways of Finland and Russia called “Karelian Trains,” the high-speed Allegro trains from Helsinki to St Petersburg use an advanced version of the Alstom “electric multiple unit” used on Finnish railway lines, designed the Sm6. Each car in this type of train has its own locomotion, the combined power of which allows it to move unusually fast, speeding up and slowing down much more safely.

The Allegro train achieves a top speed of 220 kilometers per hour (135 miles per hour). Their unique feature is that they tilt when they round a curve, which allows these high-speed trains to operate on already existing tracks, avoiding the cost of constructing newer and straighter routes. It takes 3.5 hours to travel between the cities and there are 4 daily departures.


Taking the Russian name for the fast-moving bird, the swallow, the Lastochka is designed to provide high-speed service even within the weather extremes experienced in many parts of Russia. The high-speed Lastochka train covers many destinations. It has numerous routes connecting major Russian towns including Moscow with Nizhny Novgorod, Saint Petersburg with Petrozavodsk, and the famous resort region Sochi.

Although German-made, Lastochka is a wholly Russian light rail train. "It is designed to operate in Russia’s climate and meet our technology standards and special requirements regarding safety and environmental protection. It meets the needs of the most discerning passenger," said Valentin Gapanovich at a ceremony before Lastochka's first run between St. Petersburg and Bologoye.

"Strizh" [Swift]

Strizh [Swift] Train "Strizh" [Swift] - a new high-speed train of RZD (Russian Railways) - is a project adapted to Russia by the Spanish train Talgo (Talgo), which is successfully used on the railways in Europe. The new high-speed train "Strizh" on June 1, 2015 was replaced by the famous "Sapsan" trains on the Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod-Moscow route. Starting from December 17, 2016 trains "Strizh" also began to run along the international route Moscow-Berlin-Moscow, passing through the cities of Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany. Under the terms of the contract, RZD buys only the wagon train of the Talgo. As a locomotive, Russian electric locomotives EP20 are used.

Due to the fact that the width of the railroad track in Russia is wider than the European analogs, a constructive possibility of transition from one wheel pair to another is provided. Thus wheel blocks settle down between cars. A unique feature of "Strizha" is also the system of the pendulum tilt of the body. It allows the train to pass small-radius turns at high speeds with minimal impact on passengers. The length of "Strizha" wagons is about half the length of the standard Russian ones, their height is also less than usual.

For the whole train of 20 cars there are 21 wheeled carriages, with independent rotation of the wheels on their own semiaxes. That is, each car has only one wheel pair. Wheeled carts are located under the nodes of the articulation of wagons. It turns out that on one side the car rests on its wheel pair, and on the other - on the wheel pair of the next car. Due to all this, wagons can pass complex sections and curves faster, and the impact on the path turns out to be much less than that of conventional bogies. This is the first train in Russia, equipped with an automatic change in the width of wheel sets. A transfer device was specially created for this train in Brest. Thus, from the gauge of the Russian standard of 1520 millimeters to the European 1435 millimeter, the Strizh will pass in just 20 minutes. Previously, this procedure took about two hours.

Moscow–Kazan high speed line

An agreement to establish a Russian joint venture for the production of high speed rolling stock capable of speeds above 300 km/h was signed on 25 June 2016 by Sinara Group Chairman Dmitry Pumpyansky and CRRC President Xi Guohua. The companies envisage manufacturing at least 100 high speed trainsets in Russia, with CRRC responsible for design, planning, quality control and technical support. The initial focus would be on supplying trains for the planned 770 km Moscow – Kazan high speed line. Russian Railways President Oleg Belozerov and his China Railway Corp counterpart Sheng Guangzu attended the signing ceremony in Beijing, as part of a meeting between the two countries’ presidents. RZD and CRC also signed an agreement to develop a ‘high-speed Moscow – Beijing International Transport Corridor’, with the construction of the Moscow – Kazan high speed line seen as a priority.

The length of the Moscow-Kazan HSR will be 790 km; the cruising speed of trains will be up to 360 km / h. The route will pass through the territory of seven regions of Russia (Moscow, Moscow, Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod regions, the Republic of Chuvashia, the Republic of Mari El and the Republic of Tatarstan). The journey time from Moscow to Kazan along the new line will be 3 hours 17 minutes (instead of 14 hours now). It is planned to build 16 stations.

The line from Moscow to Kazan was originally slated to be ready for the 2018 World Cup, but the massive project failed to pick up steam. By 2018 the project was hung up on money and terms. Beijing invested $1.8 billion (€1.6 billion) into the project’s share capital and Russia had o been promised a loan of 400 billion Rubles ($7 billion). But with a total estimated cost topping $20 billion for the 772-kilometer route, RZD still faced a substantial shortfall.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2018 12:54:34 ZULU