LAST year Russian Railways carried almost 9million passengers on its Express trains, which are designed to offer a more comfortable environment than other services, including a bar and reclining seats.

Introduced on routes 200 km to 350 km long, where the main competition is from buses, Express services contributed a profit of 113·5m roubles to RZD last year; most services became self-financing within their first year. During 2003 Express trains were operated on 42 routes, and a further 50 will be added this year. The trains’ share of the long-distance rail market is expected to grow from 3·7% to 13%.

  • RZD announced last month that it had carried 96 million passengers in January this year, 4·8% up on January 2003.

    CAPTION: RZD put its new 61-4193 series first class coaches into service on the Tatarstan between Moscow and Kazan on January 21. The cars have four sleeping compartments with en-suite toilet and shower cubicles, plus a bar/lounge area, Each car has on-board fire suppression, and a self-contained power supply for heating and ventilation Photo: RZD