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Triumphant music blares from the platform as the Sapsan, Russia’s first high-speed train, pulls into St Petersburg’s Moskovsky Station. Just three hours and 45 minutes after leaving central Moscow, the 10-carriage train has arrived in Russia’s second city.

When the Sapsan began operating in December last year, train travel became a serious option for business travellers who needed to shuttle between St Petersburg and Moscow. Previously, most trains on the route travelled overnight and took up to nine hours to traverse the roughly 650km route; the…



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