THE Slavyanski Express linking Moscow with Minsk was launched on August 1, replacing the previous Russich service.

The Russian and Belarus railways have invested 2·2bn roubles in the project. Upgrading of the track and electrification, and the elimination of level crossings, has allowed the top speed to be raised to 140 km/h, and the 1067 km trip is now covered in 7h 34min, 2 1/2h less than previously.

Tver carriage works has supplied 32 passenger cars for the service, which operate in rakes of 12 hauled by Novocherkassk/Bombardier EP10 dual-system locomotives (RG 7.06 p396). Belarus Railways is planning further upgrading works to permit higher speeds through from Minsk to Brest.