October 02, 2021

Faster Than a Speeding Sapsan


Faster Than a Speeding Sapsan
Russian Railways (RZhD) platform in Moscow. Amanda Shirnina

It used to take eight hours to get from Moscow to St. Petersburg by train, often overnight.

In 2009, Sapsan came along and cut that time in half.

In 2026, the trip will be 2.5 hours.

What will the new railway be called? What flies faster than a sapsan (peregrine falcon)?

According to the internet, nothing. Oops; they used the name Sapsan too soon.

Perhaps they will consider Cheetah (Gepard; the world's fastest land animal) or Sailfish (Parusnik; the world's fastest sea animal).

Sapsan moves at a maximum speed of 250 kilometers per hour (155 miles per hour), frightening passengers when it overtakes and whips past one of those old-style slow trains still on the tracks, with a space between them of what appears to be a few inches.

Some Sapsan routes make stops between Moscow and St. Petersburg, while the fastest ones make no stops at all . . . for hopefully obvious reasons.

The new train may have a maximum speed of about 350 kilometers per hour (217 miles per hour).

The new track will be 680 kilometers (422 miles) long. It will depart from Moskovsky Station in the center of St. Petersburg, from whence trains to Moscow depart now.

After completion of the initial line, high-high-speed trains will go to Nizhny Novgorod as well.

Those who can only afford the cheap seats will still be able to buy them, as not all trains will be Speeding Cheetahs or Speeding Sailfish.

The days before Sapsan even
The author, upper left kupe bunk, in the days before Sapsan even (2005). / Amanda Shirnina

 

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