Sapsan series trains are the high-speed modern compositions created especially for Russia in Germany. Since 2009 "Sapsan" travels around a route Moscow – St. Petersburg – Moscow, and since recent time the route was prolonged up to Nizhny Novgorod. Moreover, the train makes stops in such large cities as Tver and Vladimir. Totally there are sixteen trains. This number allows to offer convenient landing time and disembarkation for passengers at any time and to provide a passenger traffic completely. Surprisingly, but the train covers the distance between St. Petersburg and Moscow just in 4 hours and sometimes even quicker that is a record for railway terms!
In 2005 the head of the Russian Railway Gennady Fadeyev and the representative of Siemens Hans Shabert signed the contract on creation of 60 electric trains on the basis of Intercity-Express. As it was conceived the train had to go with a speed up to 300 kilometres per hour, and the budget of the project was estimated at one and a half billion euros. Initially trains had to be manufactured in Russia at joint venture, however the replacement of the leadership of the Russian Railway made thorough corrections to plans. Therefore, the number of trains to purchase was only eight pieces, and contract value was reduced to six hundred million euros. Moreover, the contract provided maintenance of trains for 30 years (about 14 million kilometres of a run). The trains Siemens had to replace the outdated high-speed compositions of ER200 plying from Moscow to St. Petersburg and back since 1984.
According to the results of collaboration of the enterprises single-system trains powered with direct current in 3 kilowatts, two-system powered with direct current in 3 kilowatts and alternating current in 25 kilowatts were delivered to Russia. Moreover, for laying of high-speed lines the Japanese metallurgical company delivered to Russia rails of 20.15 thousand tons. For the management of this direction the special branch Russian Railway, Directorate of the high-speed message was created. And in 2009 the first "Sapsan" started its journey and made an indicative trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg, and just in few months the train began to make regular journeys. Today there are both unary trains and dual structures for transportation of passengers on this route in case the loading of the direction is increased. The total number of "Sapsans" is 16 trains.
Tickets to this wagon are a little more expensive, than in economy class. However, passengers receive food for the sum up to 2 thousand Russian roubles, access to the entertainment media centre and the automatic machine for shoe-polish.
• Economy class
Passengers get access to the entertainment media centre, audio and video broadcasting.
Besides the services for usual economy class the automatic machine for shoe-polish, Internet access and sockets for recharge of mobile devices are provided & food with the preliminary choice of the menu is also here.
• Business class
Food with the choice of the menu, the automatic machine for shoe-polish, Internet access and access to the media centre, sockets are provided to passengers for charging of gadgets, children's and road sets, the press, a plaid, a pillow and also the VIP-hall at stations in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Tver.
• The first class
Besides the services of a business class the chairs which are displayed for half-upright position are provided to passengers.
Of course, each train has a set of rules that are mandatory for all passengers: not to smoke in the cabin, not to damage the company's property, to operate technical devices according to the instructions, etc. However, among the passengers of the Sapsan, in addition to the basic set of rules, there was also their own private etiquette, which every traveller should know not to find himself in an awkward situation:
• You should not make too loud conversations on the phone or with the other person in the cabin so as not to disturb the rest of the other passengers - this way your conversation will remain confidential and you will not have a misunderstanding with your neighbours or the car. If the interlocutor does not hear you well and asks to speak louder, you always have the opportunity to go to the vestibule and calmly talk, without disturbing others;
• Watching video and listening to music from mobile devices is best done through headphones - your neighbours will thank you for your silence and understanding;
• It is advisable to turn off the sound notifications of applications in the phone during the daytime, so that the alarms about messages do not interfere with others, and at night it is better to put the phone in silent mode;
• It is better to refrain from eating in the train cabin if you have a strong or too strong smell - this may cause discomfort for your fellow travellers. It is also worth minimizing the use of perfume, as people with allergies to certain odours or perfume components may end up in the cabin;
• Respect the work of the conductors - there are a lot of passengers, and each employee has to spend a lot of time on fulfilling a huge number of orders. If a tired guide accidentally forgot about your request, politely remind him of this - your request will be fulfilled, and you will avoid negative emotions!
“Sapsan”, although produced in Germany, is fully adapted to the realities of the Russian climate: while many trains literally “freeze” at -30 degrees, it functions perfectly even at temperatures of -50 degrees Celsius.
• The climate system inside the train constantly maintains the most comfortable temperature - 22 degrees Celsius.
• In severe frost in order to protect the train from icing, it is covered with anti-icing fluid, the same procedure is used for airplanes.
• The double composition of Sapsan has a length of more than 500 meters. This is the length of five standard football fields.
• The train makers took care of the machinists. They can straighten up and warm up in the cabin in order to maintain normal blood supply to all parts of the body.
• There is only one driver working on the train & this position can only be obtained by a person who has worked for more than 10 years on trains of other routes, has no comments and reprimands and is distinguished by excellent health.
• The driver’s state of health is thoroughly checked by doctors before each journey, and the driver regularly undergoes a thorough and fairly strict physical examination.
• During the journey, the driver is always in the cabin, and his condition is monitored by a special bracelet. The device captures the pulse and, if it deviates from the norm, a signal is heard, which is additionally displayed on the screen. The driver should press a special button after the signal to let the system know that everything is fine with him. If, after two signals, the driver has not yet pressed the button, the system triggers an emergency braking and notifies the train staff about an emergency situation.
• The interior design uses only impact-resistant and refractory materials, and the windows are made of safety glass;
• Each car has two information boards ehere passengers can find information about the route, car number, ambient temperature and train speed.
The train is obliged by the name to a bird that is a falcon Sapsan. This feathery predator at a sword-play gathers speed to 322 kilometres per hour and is considered to be the fastest bird in the world. Of course, the train is still not capable to accelerate its "namesake". The maximum allowed speed of the movement is 250 kilometres per hour, however after modernization of lines a dispersal up to 330 kilometres per hour will become possible!
The "Train plane" literally does not lag behind the heavenly colleague when speaking about landing passengers. Each passenger undergoes careful examination and all baggage is also checked. This precautionary measure is quite justified in terms of safety, and is absolutely easy in terms of comfort of passengers. The examination of each person on average takes not more than a minute.
The train has its own mini-series. It consists of five animated films and is called "Sapsanchik and his friends". Moreover, the train appears as the character in other cartoons. "Sapsan" also has its own blog and even the account in Twitter. Everyone can watch news from the train life online.
Not only the birthday of "Sapsan", but also a Day of high speeds are celebrated on the 17th of December. Festive events are sent and organized at the stations every year on this day, so that many passengers go straight to a colourful fairy tale!
Surprisingly, the Sapsan is the first train, for the delay of which passengers can receive compensation. For example, if the train was late for half an hour-hour, the return to the passenger is a quarter of cost of the ticket. If delay made one-two hours, a half of cost of the ticket is compensated. The delay of 121 minutes already guarantees the return of 100% of cost of the ticket. However, delays at "Sapsan" happen quite seldom, taking into account its high-speed opportunities.
Compensations for delays are not the only innovation that "arrived" by "Sapsan" in the list of services of Russian Railway. This train became the first for which flexible pricing was created. For example, upon purchase in 45 days prior to departure tickets will cost almost half cheaper, than at the order for couple of days before the journey.
"Sapsan" became the Russia's first train where smoking is completely forbidden. Later this ban was picked up by "Swallow" and "Allegro", and a trace of the rule extended to all long distance trains.
The Siemens AG company was engaged in development of locomotives and cars of "Sapsan" by the special order of Russia. Even a special marking appropriated Velaro RUS was made. The train of 10 wagons has length of 250 meters and is designed for 538 passengers, however the dual structure from 20 wagons between Moscow and St. Petersburg is capable to accept more than 1000 passengers.
At the beginning not everyone was glad to start of "Sapsan", because of cancellation of electric trains from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Dissatisfied citizens threw stones to the train and even shot at it (fortunately, all cases of vandalism happened without victims). After some of hooligans were caught and were punished, the Russian Railway was appointed after all by the additional electric trains including plying at night and an incident was finished. Today the summer residents and inhabitants of the suburb can quietly get home also for work in time necessary to them, and "Sapsan" goes to distant journeys without problems.
The train moves with very high speed and creates around itself a powerful air flow with turbulences. Because of it when the train approaches the station, people on the platform are informed that they need to depart on safe distance, at least on three meters. If not to observe safety measures it can bring down the person from legs by an air wave, and can tighten small objects under the train. However similar precedents happen with the train extremely seldom and only by negligence of people on the platform.
During the construction of the Sapsan wagons, modern soundproofing materials and soft flooring were used, so it’s impossible to enjoy the ride under the measured beat of the wheels, it is barely audible in silence. But for those who want to rest and sleep, this fact will only benefit - nothing will stop you from relaxing!
If you want to quickly and safely get from Moscow to St. Petersburg and back, enjoying at the same time a comfortable atmosphere, peace and tranquillity, then Sapsan is what you need!