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New High-Speed Moscow-St. Petersburg Trains to Start Running in 2026

Faster journey times and cheaper tickets promised by Russia’s state railway organization.

A new high-speed rail line could cut journey times between Moscow and St. Petersburg by 40% Pixabay

Russia is aiming to launch a new high-speed rail connection between Moscow and St. Petersburg by 2026, the state railway organization said yesterday.

The proposed launch date was confirmed at a meeting between lawmakers in Russia’s Federation Council and Dmitry Kattsyn, head of high-speed projects at the country’s state rail operator, Russian Railways.

Russian Railways said a new high-speed connection between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod would be launched two years earlier by 2024. The company also said ticket prices between Moscow and St. Petersburg for the new link will be cheaper than on Sapsan trains — the current fastest rail connection between the two cities.

When launched, journey times on the 650-kilometer route will be cut from three hours and 40 minutes to two hours and 10 minutes, and increase capacity three-fold to 33 million passengers a year. The government has previously estimated the cost of the project at 1.5 trillion rubles ($23 billion). Tickets will cost around 3,500 rubles ($54) at today’s prices, Russian Railways said.

A start date for construction has not yet been set, nor has a detailed budget for the project been passed. Kattsyn said four possible routes for the new track are still being considered.

Russia’s other flagship high-speed route — between Moscow and Kazan — has been beset by delays. It emerged last month that the scheduled launch date had been pushed back three years until 2027. 

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