On 23 September a train from the Federal Passenger Company, a subsidiary of Russian Railways (RZD), carried out the first weekly journey of the Moscow – Nice – Moscow service. This first train arrived in Nice on 25 September, with the Vice-President of RZD on board, along with dozens of tourism professionals and a number of leisure travellers. It was greeted at the station in Nice by Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice and Barbara Dalibard, Managing Director of the SNCF Passenger Department.
This service covers 3,300 km between Russia and France and passes through five countries: Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Italy, stopping at 29 stations. The Moscow – Nice train consists of modern carriages, which are extremely comfortable and specially designed for long journeys.
The new Moscow – Nice service forms part of the cooperation agreement signed by RZD and SNCF in May 2009.
Along with the launch of this new offer, the tangible results of this agreement include the international distribution of passenger tickets and the development of container services carrying spare parts for the car industry between France and Russia.
Also worthy of mention is the station twinning project which promotes a new form of international cooperation by creating five partnerships between French and Russian stations. This programme is aimed at developing the exchange of information regarding the design, management, operation, and commercialisation of stations, and also takes passenger information, intermodality and urban planning into consideration. In addition it encourages the exchange of delegations between partner stations. A number of twinning agreements have already been signed or will be signed this year. These include agreements between Paris’s Gare de l’Est and Moscow’s Belorussky Station, Paris’s Saint-Lazare and Saint Petersburg’s Baltic Station, the stations of Nice and Sochi, and Toulouse and Samara. These twinning schemes are a result of the partnership agreement signed between Sophie Boissard, Director of Stations and Connections (SNCF) and Sergueï Abramov, Director of Russian Railways Station Management on 18 February 2010 in Moscow.