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The Space Race Moves To The Rails As Russia Gets High-Speed Trains

September 28, 2009 at 9:33 AM | by | ()

When we talk about High-Speed Trains, it's not exactly news that the United States is extremely tardy to the party. Especially now that Russia has their act together and have debuted some Siemens-built trains designed to zip, rather than chug-chug, on the route between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The Sapsan—or "Peregrine Falcon"—train will ride the rails beginning in December, with an average speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), shaving an hour off of the total travel time between the two metropoli. No doubt this train will fast become a tourist's best friend, smoothing the passage between the capitals like the TGV did for the route between Paris and Nice, or the Thalys between Brussels and Paris. The big deal here, however, is that now we're talking about Russia.

Do we really have to say it? Don't make us say it! Ah, but we must: remember the space race? The US might have won that, but apparently when it comes to our own turf, making miracles is a bit harder. Expect the Sapsan's routes to be expanded once it gets going, for instance on the Moscow–Nizhny Novgorod route. And forget the grand Trans-Siberian railway and its many-day journey; the Sapsan is designed to run in temperatures as low as -50° Celsius, significantly cutting the travel time across the harshest of territories if it moves into the route. Of course that's a whole other step, one which we anxiously await.

Related Stories:
· Siemens Fills Russia's Need For A High-Speed Train [NYT]
· Dubai's First Subway Opens, And Not Of The Cold Cut Combo Variety [Jaunted]
· Train Travel Coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: Getty/NYT]

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