FOUR HOURS were cut from overnight journeys between the Russian and Ukrainian capitals with the launch of the Metropolitan Express on August 1.

’It is less than a year since Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement to launch a high speed passenger train between Moscow and Kyiv’, said RZD President Vladimir Yakunin at the launch in Moscow. Tracks and overhead electrification on the route have been modernised to permit speeds of up to 140 km/h, reducing the journey time from between 13 and 14h to around 91/2h.

Running daily, the southbound train leaves Moscow’s Kievskaya station at 23.23 and arrives in the Ukrainian capital at 08.00 local time. Departures from Kyiv are at 20.09, arriving in Moscow at 06.39 local time.

Each operator provides one trainset. The RZD set comprises seven sleeping cars, seven compartment vehicles, one luxury coach and a dining car, while the Ukrainian train has an addition sleeper in place of the luxury car.

  • Grand Express launched a privately-operated luxury overnight train between Moscow and St Petersburg on August 3. Prices for the 9h trip range from 3150 roubles for a berth in a shared first class compartment, up to 12500 roubles for sole occupancy of a Grand de Luxe suite with toilet, shower, LCD television and Wi-Fi internet access. General Director Andrei Kudryavtsev said Grand Express had invested 1·2bn roubles in the project. n

    CAPTION: The Metropolitan Express (left) was officially launched at Moscow’s Kievskaya station on August 1 by Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin (above left), RZD President Vladimir Yakunin (second left) and Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov (fourth left) Photos: RZD