RUSSIAN Railways has put into traffic a second ER200 high-speed train, and accelerated the premier inter-city service between Moscow and St Petersburg. Introduction of the additional 200 km/h trainset, known as the Blue Arrow, on January 14 has allowed the original ER200 to be taken out of use for a heavy overhaul. Once this has been completed, the intention is to make the service twice-weekly.

Upgrading of additional sections of the route for 200 km/h operation has enabled RZD to pare a further 20min from the journey time. The Blue Arrow is booked to cover the 650 km in 4h 40min, at a start-to-stop average of 140 km/h.

Following successful commissioning trials, a prototype Class EP200 25 kV 50Hz electric passenger loco has been put into revenue service on the Moscow - Brest route. This was developed at the Kolomna locomotive works, in parallel with the 160 km/h dual-system EP10 from Novocherkassk (RG 1.99 p6).