CEREMONIES on February 14 marked the inauguration of Russian Railways’ first express commuter service, between Moscow and Mytishchi. Attending the event were RZD President Gennady Fadeyev, Moscow Mayor Jury Luzhkov, Vice-Premier Boris Alyuoshin, Transport Minister Sergei Frank and Minister of Work Alexander Pochinok.

The Moscow - Mytishchi line accounts for most of the 100000 passengers using Moscow’s Yaroslavl station each day. The new timetable provides 42 express trains each way per day, worked by new Sputnik EMUs (RG 1.04 p9). These are overlaid on the existing all-stations service, lifting the total number of suburban trains serving Yaroslavl from 193 to 224 in each direction. Express trains will run hourly all day and at 15min intervals in the peaks. Journey time is just 18min, compared to 35min on the stopping trains.

To accommodate the extra traffic, the line has been upgraded, with 33 platforms and 12 ticket offices rebuilt. Automatic ticket barriers have been installed at Mytishchi, Los, Losinoostrovskaya and Yaroslavl. At Mytishchi a new concourse has been built over the tracks. Total cost, including the EMUs, is put at 3·1bn roubles.

On February 20 RZD reported that over 23 000 passengers had used the new service in the first three days of commercial operation, lifting patronage on the line by 231% compared to the same period last year. RZD sees the project as a testbed to assess the potential for express commuter services to be operated profitably. If it proves successful, the concept will be introduced elsewhere.