As international routes remain suspended due to the pandemic, Russian Railways are apparently trying to save their international fleet from idling. RIC coaches are being used on a few routes now. High-speed “Strizh” Talgo trainsets that used to run between Moscow and Berlin are now serving Samara - St. Petersburg and Moscow - St. Petersburg routes.
In this photo, one of those Talgo trainsets is (barely) seen as it is being boarded as train #111 to St. Petersburg. Despite being capable of 200 km/h, journey towards St. Petersburg surprisingly does not involve high speed. Travel time is about 10 hrs for roughly a 700 km ride. Return service is high-speed though, covering the same distance in 5 hrs.
While almost all trains connecting Moscow and St. Petersburg, including high-speed Sapsans, depart from Leningradskiy terminus, this guy starts at Kievskiy terminus. I don’t know a reason behind that decision, but I’d assume it’s because Talgo trainsets are being serviced nearby, as well as because this terminus features low-level platform. To reach the mainline connecting two largest cities in Russia, this service has to use roughly a quarter of Moscow Central Circle.
Funny enough, a tiny spur (just a few hundred meters) leading from the Kievskiy terminus to the Circle is not electrified. Because of that, train has to be hauled by a diesel loco for the first 10 km or so. Once a non-electrified spur is done and train reaches a convenient station at the Circle, diesel loco drops off. Electric loco EP20 is seen behind the diesel one, which will come into an action just a few kilometers later.
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