Cheapest one-way ticket in economy class
First class ticket during peak hours
Number of passengers who travelled on the Sapsan during August 2010
Average occupancy rate
Sapsan’s top speed on current tracks
We can’t expect Russian Railways to magic up brand new station terminals, but some easy signage in English would be a start.
The online booking system and e-ticketing is one of the best things to happen to Russian railway travel for a long time, but needs the attention of a good web designer – in its current state it is infuriating to navigate.
Nobody likes to arrive for a day’s work with a dead laptop. Power sockets should be introduced at every seat, and at the very least in both first class carriages. The wi-fi also needs to be fixed.
The meals served in first class and the snacks at the on-board café really need some improvement.
Sapsan will only become a true friend to the business traveller when it runs at frequent intervals throughout the day. But we’ll have to wait for a separate high-speed track to be built for this to happen.
The verdict: a welcome arrival
There’s quite a bit wrong with the Sapsan, but then this is Russia and it’s such an improvement on what was on offer before, that it can only be welcomed. The journey time and cost are remarkably competitive with flying and the level of comfort is several times higher. The frequency of the service is a drawback, but if you get delayed and miss the train, you can always hit the airport as a backup. For the first choice, only a serious train enthusiast would choose the regular overnight train instead of the Sapsan, and only a fool would opt for the plane.