On 17 December at 19:00, a high-speed Sapsan train departed from Moscow for St Petersburg on the first journey of the service. The travel time was 3 hours 45 minutes.
Among the passengers on the first Sapsan journey was Russian Railways (RZD) President Vladimir Yakunin.
The RZD president told journalists before departure: “This train is a new milestone in the development of the national railway. The train was produced by Seimens, and leading Russian rail transport institutes were involved in its development. This is not just a train, and these are not just carriages – this is a different life, different technology, a different means of transport.”
To enable the train to travel at speeds of up to 250 km/h between Moscow and St Petersburg, Russian Railways modernized the infrastructure of this line. The work began in 2006 and was completed in November 2009. During this period, work was carried out to reconstruct the track bed, track superstructure, overhead lines, and traction substations, and to install high-speed track switches, along with other tasks. The construction cost was around 15.4 billion rubles (over $351 million).
Tickets were sold out for the first journey. For the period of ticket availability, from 17 December 2009 to 30 January 2010, 18,700 tickets have already been sold.
Each high-speed Sapsan train has 10 carriages, of which two are first class and eight are second class. The basic price of a first class ticket is 5300 rubles (about 121 euros), and 3300 rubles (about 75 euros) for second class. Ticket prices vary depending on the day of the week and departure time. For the first week of the service, from 18 to 25 December 2009, an additional discount applies. Return tickets are sold at a 10% discount.
Tickets for the Sapsan can be bought at ticket desks, self-service terminals, payment terminals, and online. The Sapsan train has electronic registration. When boarding, passengers who bought their tickets on the RZD website will be required to show the document that they indicated when ordering the ticket.
From 18 December 2009, the trains will depart from Moscow’s Leningradsky Station three times daily:
– at 06:45 (arriving at St Petersburg at 10:30, with no stops – a journey time of 3 hours 45 minutes)
– at 13:00 (calling at Tver, Vyshny Volochyok, Bologoye and Okulovka, and arriving at St Petersburg at 17:15, with a journey time of 4 hours 15 minutes.)
– at 19:00 (arriving at St Petersburg at 22:45, with no stops – a journey time of 3 hours 45 minutes)
Trains from St Petersburg to Moscow will follow an equivalent timetable (with departures from St Petersburg at 06:45, 13:00, and 19:00).