Soviet express train Krasnaya Strela made its first run
The Red Arrow express is considered the first national branded train in Russia. Passengers appreciate the express for its comfort, high quality services and keeping to the schedule.
In the summer of 1931, the workers of the 8th carriage depot at the Moskovsky terminus in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) formed a new train. Curiously, in the old Russian the word "red" meant both "red in color" and "beautiful". Initially, the carriages were painted blue. Alexander Ivanov, one of the first managers of the express, suggested the idea to repaint them red. This proposal was approved by the Minister of Railways, and the "Red Arrow" carriages are still easily recognizable by its color.
In a way, the "Red Arrow" was a trendsetter, as this express pioneered the use of sleeping cars on the Soviet railways. To that end, the depot workers had to retrofit the four-seater compartments by hanging mirrors and beautiful lamps instead of the removed upper sleeping berths. Besides, passengers had checkers, chess and other board games at their disposal while en route. Initially, instead of a dining car, a buffet compartment worked on the train. One of the carriages even had a telephone that enabled making long-distance calls. The telephone connection was made through a cable that was plugged into a socket when the train had long stops at Bologoye, Okulovka and Malaya Vishera stations.
As before, the train enjoys a wide appeal among the travelers. The express offers arguably the best services on the Russian railways, and keeps improving its quality standards. The only feature that has been and remains unchanged is the departure time: 23:55, that is 5 minutes before the onset of a new day, which passengers will meet on the way.