May 21, 2022

Russian Trains In for a Bumpy Ride


Russian Trains In for a Bumpy Ride
A Siemens Velaro RUS, also known as the Sapsan, Russia's fastest train. Wikimedia Commons user Neu-Zwei.

On May 12, German manufacturer Siemens announced a suspension of all operations in Russia, joining scores of companies from around the world.

Siemen's departure is especially dire for Russia's train services, as many of the country's premier lines and rolling stock depend on Siemen's cooperation with Russian National Railways (RZD).

As of May 13, Siemens has halted maintenance and part manufacture for trains in use in Russia, meaning that domestic Russian firms will have to pick up the slack, and train service will face an uncertain future.

Two of the most significant potential casualties are the Sapsan ("Peregrine Falcon") high-speed express service between Moscow and St. Petersburg, and the regional Lastochka ("Swallow") lines. Both are reliant on Siemens engineering and maintenance.

The move comes on the heels of a March 22 company decision to stop providing RZD with new trains. This is only the latest corporate decision that will affect the everyday Russian for years to come.

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