Sapsam Trains and Lenin's Locomotive
Several so-called "high – speed" Sapsam trains cover the 650 km between St Petersburg and Moscow in under 4 hours. Top speed of the Sapsam is 250 km/hr; not really high speed by world standards, but this train operates over joint use tracks that carry freight and passenger trains. These are very similar speeds achieved by the Acela trains on Amtrak between Boston and Washington. Ride was smooth and clearly, the maintenance standards are achieved for a comfortable ride; probably even higher speeds could be achieved over the same tracks without upsetting drinks. On board services are excellent as even the cheapest economy ticket includes food/drinks up to the amount of 2,000 Rubles ($30). Most passengers ensure that this limit is achieved by increasing food/alcohol consumption up to their monetary limit.
The locomotive that brought Lenin to Saint Petersburg (Petrograd at the time) in 1917 that marked the beginning of the October Revolution is on display at the Finland Station. I managed to get on the train platform to photograph this loco only after asking the security guard if I could do so without a ticket (platform access requires presentation of a valid ticket). He graciously agreed and walked with me to the loco and returned me to the street side of the station. During the WWII siege of Leningrad the only functioning station in the city was the Finland Station, as it occupied a location in the northern part of the city. There is a famous painting of Lenin in the cab of this loco as it moves to Petrograd; I had a copy of this several years ago but it became damaged...trying to find another copy here in Moscow.