Lastochka takes flight in Sochi

RUSSIAN Railways (RZD) has begun testing the first of 38 Siemens Desiro Rus emus ordered by Russian Railways for expanded rail services in the Sochi region during the Winter Olympic and Paralympic games in 2014.

The first five-car set is being tested on the new Aeroexpress service from Sochi to Adler and Sochi International Airport. The 2.8km branch to the airport was completed earlier this year.

A second emu is currently being commissioned at Siemens’ Metallostroy depot in St Petersburg, while a third will be delivered to Russia from Siemens’ Krefeld plant on June 10.

Dubbed “Lastochka” or “Swallow” by RZD, the dual-system trains operate under 3kV dc electrification on the airport branch and mainline through to Sochi, and on 25kV ac on the new 48km line through Sudok, which will serve Olympic venues at Alpica Service. This line is currently under construction and is due to be completed in 2013.

Siemens says the first train should enter revenue service in November or December of this year and that all 38 trains will be delivered by November 1 2013 under the terms of the contract signed in December 2009.

A second tranche of 16 trains was ordered in September 2010 and will be built at the Ural Locomotives Works facility in Verkhnaya Pyshma, near Yekaterinburg by Train Technologies, a joint venture between Siemens and Russian partner Sinara.

The total value of both contracts is Euros 540m, while Siemens will also maintain the first 54 trains under a Euros 500m 40-year contract signed last September.

Following the conclusion of the Olympics many of the trains will be transferred to airport express services in Moscow with some remaining in Sochi for use on regional services. RZD has not confirmed how many of the trains will be transferred to the capital.

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