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    Russian Railways plans to expand its network of rapid trains, Sapsan, to connect Moscow with other Russian cities and also with Ukraine, the company's head said on Thursday

    Russian Railways plans to expand its network of rapid trains, Sapsan, to connect Moscow with other Russian cities and also with Ukraine, the company's head said on Thursday.

    "We will be developing the projected directions [from Moscow] to Sochi, Samara, and Kursk," Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin said.

    Yakunin said the company is also considering the launching of high-speed trains to link Moscow with the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and Crimea, Ukraine's peninsula on the Black Sea.

    The launch of the Sapsan train between Moscow and the country's fourth largest city of Nizhny Novgorod is scheduled in August, he said. The train was earlier planned to be launched in July.

    The Sapsan train built for Russia by German engineering giant Siemens made its first commercial run between Moscow and St. Petersburg in a record time of 3 hours and 45 minutes on December 18. Sapsan trains have replaced the earlier day trains to St. Petersburg that used to take 5-6 hours to travel between Russia's two largest cities. Regular night trains travel between the two cities in 8 hours.

    At present it takes 27-36 hours by train from Moscow to reach the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, 18-21 hours to the southwestern city of Kursk, and 16-21 hours to reach Samara in the Volga Region.

    Sapsan, Russia's first train capable of travelling at a speed of 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph), has 10 cars, of which two are first class and eight are second class, and can carry 604 passengers.

    At present, two Sapsan trains make three runs between Moscow and St. Petersburg daily.

    MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti)

     

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