On 18 December 2009, the high speed Sapsan train service will be launched on the Moscow – St Petersburg – Moscow route. Ticket sales for the Sapsan trains are now open.
The first journeys will begin at 06:45 in the morning, when two trains will depart simultaneously from Moscow and St Petersburg. The journey time will be 3 hours 45 minutes.
Each train has 10 carriages, of which two are first class and eight are second class. The Sapsan is a high-speed electric train of the Velaro RUS series produced by the company Siemens Transportation Systems, and capable of a maximum speed of 250 km/h.
A contract for the delivery of eight trains of the Velaro RUS series was signed by RZD and Siemens Transportation Systems in May 2006. The contract was worth 276 million euros. In April 2007, a contract was signed for the technical servicing of trains over a 30 year period, to the sum of 354.1 million euros.
With the launch of the Sapsan train, the journey time between Moscow and St Petersburg will be 3 hours 45 minutes. Currently, the travel time is between 4 hours 30 minutes and 8 hours. The average time for a journey from Moscow to St Petersburg by plane (taking into account trips to and from the airport, flight registration, and flying time) is not less than 5 hours.