On 13 December, Russian Railways and SNCF jointly inaugurated the first direct Moscow-Paris train at Gare de l’Est railway station. The Russian delegation onboard the train, led by Russian Railways’ Vice-President Mikhaïl Akulov, was welcomed in a festive and friendly atmosphere.
The Moscow-Paris train is the second service to link Russia and France with a journey time of around 38 hours, and follows the launch of the Moscow-Nice train in September 2010. The 3,177 km-long trans-European route linking the two capitals enables trains to operate at line speeds of up to 200 km/h. The Moscow-Paris train will pass through five countries: Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France, and will serve the cities of Vyazma, Smolensk, Krasnoe, Orsha, Minsk, Brest, Terespol, Warsaw, Poznan, Rzepin, Oderburk, Frankfurt (Oder), Berlin, Hanover, Fulda, Frankfurt-am-Main and Saarbrücken.
The train times have been specifically scheduled so that passengers only spend one night onboard. The service will operate three times a week during the winter and five times a week during the summer. The train offers passengers three standards of travel, namely luxury, first-class and second-class carriages, as well as a dining car offering a wide variety of food and beverages. With regard to staff, all members of the crew speak several languages, have a higher education qualification and have completed a special training programme in the areas of psychology, culture and passenger service.