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Delivery and Maintenance of High-Speed Trains for Russian Railways

Russian Railways has established a high-speed connection between Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod with eight Saspan (Velaro RUS) trains. Eight more have been ordered.

Initial Situation

Russia is a huge railway market with an increased demand from passengers for quality of services. Russian Railways (RZD) has wide-ranging future plans to replace outdated rolling stock and improve infrastructure. High-speed passenger services are among the company’s top priorities.

Customer Challenges

In Russia, rail services have to cope with extreme climatic conditions. Temperatures can easily range from minus 40 to plus 40 degrees Celsius. Materials and technology of the high-speed trains had to be adapted to provide trouble-free operation as well as the highest possible levels of reliability and punctuality. They also had to be designed to meet the standards of the Russian Federation and come with a wide car body for Russia’s broad-gauge system.

Our Solution

The Siemens Rail Systems Division, a part of the Infrastructure & Cities Sector, cooperated closely with Siemens RCA, Russia to develop the Velaro RUS for RZD. The Velaro RUS high-speed trains carry the name “Saspan”, the Russian term for peregrine falcon. The train set is based on the modern technology of the Velaro platform of trains.

All elements of the Velaro RUS, such as technology, insulation and lubricants, have been adapted for extreme temperatures. For instance, to protect the traction components against ice and snowdrifts in winter, and at the same time cool them sufficiently, the cooling air is fed through special air channels that are practically airtight.

Each of the 10-car Velaro RUS train sets is 250 meters long and accommodates 600 passengers. Designed for Russia’s broad gauge system (1520 mm), the vehicles are about 33 centimeters wider than the ICE 3 operated by Deutsche Bahn in Germany. In September 2009, the trains successfully started with high-speed passenger services on the Moscow–St. Petersburg and Moscow–Nizhny Novgorod lines. The trains, which RZD operate under the name Sapsan (Russian for “peregrine falcon”), have a punctuality rating of about 99 percent. They have reduced travel time from Moscow to Saint Petersburg by 45 minutes. In December 2011, RZD ordered eight more trains with delivery due to commence in January 2014.