New Swift international train makes first journey with passengers from Moscow to Berlin
On 17 December 2016, the new high-speed international train No. 13/14 Swift left
Moscow's Kursk station on its first run between the Russian capital and Berlin to
a ceremonial send off.
The event was timed to celebrate High Speed Day in Russia, which began with the
launch of the Sapsan services.
The official send-off ceremony was attended by the President of Russian Railways
Oleg Belozerov, the Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation Maxim Sokolov,
Spain's Minister of Development Íñigo de la Serna, the President of
Patentes Talgo Carlos de Palacio y de and other officials.
"The problem of switching quickly from the 1435mm narrow gauge European system
to the wider Russian gauge of 1520mm has existed for decades. Now this problem has
been solved. The railways should unite people, and today we have modern rolling stock
which can switch from one gauge to another in just 20 minutes. Earlier, this operation
used to take several hours," said Oleg Belozerov in his address at the departure ceremony.
The President of Russian Railways stressed that the new Swift international train
will offer more comfortable travelling conditions to all passengers, including those
with disabilities, since it provides for a greater number of compartments for people
Russia's Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov noted in turn that "the journey to
Berlin will now take a little over 20 hours, almost five hours less than before. I
would like to congratulate Russian Railways and all users on this remarkable project
and thank the manufacturers and all our colleagues in Russia and abroad. This train
will now be our new joint direction with regard to international activities."
This Moscow-Berlin service arose due to rising passenger demand for rail transport
between Russia and Europe.
For example, 561,400 passengers travelled abroad on Russian long-distance trains
from January to November 2016, over 9% more than during the same period last year.
Passenger numbers between Russia and Germany reached 25,800, which is 35% more than
during the 11 months of 2015.
The Swift international high-speed train is manufactured by the Spanish company
Patentes Talgo S.L. and reaches a new level in the quality of transport service in
This is the first time a Russian train has been formed which consists of rail carriages
fitted with equipment for enabling an automatic change of gauge widths.
As a result, the time spent at the interface between the two gauge systems in Brest
on the Belarus-Polish border will be cut sharply.
Previously, the bogies had to be disconnected and the locomotive and carriages
jacked up so the wheelsets could be slid out and the bogies with the other gauge slid
in and attached.
As a result, changing the wheelsets of international trains crossing the border
with the EU takes about two hours.
The Swift trains, by contrast, need just 20 minutes to traverse a specially equipped
conversion device to switch from the Russian broad gauge of 1520 mm to the narrower
European track of 1435 mm and vice versa.
The Swift service will run twice a week, on Saturdays and Sundays from Moscow and
on Sundays and Mondays from Berlin.
The train stops en route at Smolensk, Orsha, Minsk, Brest, Terespol, Warsaw, Poznan,
Rzepin, Frankfurt (Oder)
The run from Moscow to Berlin takes 20 hours 14 minutes.
Each train consists of 20 carriages: five second-class cars with 18 berths and
four-berth compartments; two carriages with seating in first class (20 seats in each
carriage), a carriage-bar and restaurant car; four first-class carriages (12 berths,
double compartments); three VIP-class carriages (6 berths, double compartments equipped
with a shower and toilet), including a second-class compartment equipped for persons
with disabilities; 2 VIP-class carriages (10 berths, double compartments fitted with
a shower and toilet).
The train (head and tail) also includes technical wagons to ensure the functioning
of the environmental support systems.
Train passengers will be provided with Wi-Fi access to a multimedia portal with
Internet access. The portal provides essential passenger information and news, such
as the route details and timetable, the restaurant carriage menus and purchasing train
tickets, as well as films.
Passengers with 1st class seating will also be issued with tablets to view multimedia
The introduction of technical innovations in the train's design has facilitated
an increase in passenger travel comfort and in particular reduced the effect of the
centrifugal force on passengers when the train takes tight curves at speed.
On 18 June 2011, the Federal Passenger Company, a subsidiary of Russian Railways,
and the Spanish company Patentes Talgo S.L. signed a contract for the development
and delivery of passenger trains at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
In accordance with the contract, Patentes Talgo S.L., supplied the Federal Passenger
Company with 7 trains consisting of 20 carriages each.
The first batch consisting of four trains was delivered in 2014-2015 (including
1st and 2nd class carriages with seating, sleeping carriages (VIP) a restaurant car
and a buffet car).
These Swift trains have been in service on the route Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod route
since 1 June 1 2015.
Three further trains, fitted with equipment to change automatically the width of
the bogies to accommodate the different gauges, were delivered in 2016 and will run
as train no. 13/14 Moscow - Berlin.
The contract with the company Patentes Talgo S.L. also envisages the provision
of integrated services for the maintenance and repair of rolling stock.
The rolling stock has passed all the required certification tests in Russia, Poland