image description

Christmas in transit

Russian Railways offers new services for passengers during the holidays
image description

On the eve of the New Year and Christmas the Russian Railways holding company developed new routes and services, including train tours with a festive program offered to passengers for the first time. Opening of new routes made it possible to raise the popularity of rail travel on the eve of the vacations.

According to Russian Railways, from December 24 to January 9 long-distance trains carried more than 5.5 million people, or one third more than a year ago, and 58,700 travelers met the New Year in transit.

Every year Russian Railways organizes additional trains for the New Year vacations. This year was no exception: about 550 additional trains were scheduled for the past holidays. The most popular destinations were Moscow-St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Murmansk, Kazan, and Volgograd, according to RZD Telegram Channel. Tourist trains were filled up to 100% of their passenger capacity, the holding company underlines.

In total, about 17,000 passengers traveled in tourist trains during the New Year vacations. The routes to Veliky Ustyug, the hometown of Russian Santa Claus, are in particular demand. This year the New Year express trains departed from Moscow, Kazan, St. Petersburg, Samara, Novosibirsk and Chelyabinsk. 

There was also the double-decker express train "Frost Express" from the Russian capital to Veliky Ustyug and back. On the eve of the opening of this route Dmitry Pegov, Deputy General Director of Russian Railways, noted that there are prerequisites for including this train even in the regular schedule.

"Now there is an increased interest in domestic tourism and tickets for New Year tourist trains are selling well. The comfort of the train will also play its role - the train will have new comfortable cars equipped with all the necessary services for passengers, including heating systems, climate control with air disinfection, a restaurant and a wide range of souvenirs", explains Dmitry Pegov, telling about the plans to introduce this train for the New Year holidays.

The route to the birthplace of Karelian Santa Claus Talvi Ukko and his residence, which is located 25 km from Petrozavodsk near the village of Chalna, became a new offer this year. To bring tourists there, Russian Railways has temporarily - until the spring of 2022 - adjusted the route "To Karelia", adding Chalna thereto. Thus, the train route is as follows: Moscow - Petrozavodsk - Chalna - Ruskeala - Vyborg - Moscow.

According to Russian Railways Tour, 13 railway cruises and 22 sightseeing tours were organized for the New Year vacations. Notably, for the first time, this year the program of tours includes a separate celebration of New Year's Eve. For example, for those who went on the cruise "Karelian New Year Voyage" a holiday banquet and a show program were organized in Petrozavodsk, while travelers of the first "Greatness of the North" tour listened to midnight chimes in a fairy tale house in Veliky Novgorod.
Tourist routes are also developed by suburban companies. Thus, at the end of December Bashkortostan commuter company together with "Penguin" animation studio organized the "Polar Express" tour on the route Sterlitamak - Velikiy Ratat - Sterlitamak. As noted by the organizers, a photo session before boarding the cars was organized for the passengers, as well as a snow show, a polar lunch, gifts and communication with Santa Claus.

In addition, in seven regions of the country, multimodal transportation to ski resorts was organized, including to Kemerovo Region (Sheregesh), Saratov Region (Khvalynsk), the Perm Territory (Gubakha, Takman), Udmurtia (Chekeryl), Murmansk Region (Khibiny), Bashkortostan (Abzakovo), and Chelyabinsk (Sun Valley).

Another unique tourist project of Russian Railways is the "Santa Claus Train", which the holding company organized jointly with the administration of Vologda Region. The fairy-tale train, which is in fact a mobile residence, left Veliky Ustyug on December 5 and covered more than 13.5 thousand km over 41 days, having visited 36 Russian cities. The train was mainly driven by diesel locomotive, but before every station it was unhooked and was delivered to the stopping point by steam traction. Russian Railways allocated four P36 General steam locomotives specially for this project - they were brushed up and decorated with New Year illumination. During the trip of the Santa Claus train, the mobile residence was visited by thousands of children and adults.
"This is a very important and significant project for the Russian Railways holding company. By uniting the country and thousands of people by railways, we also give them a magical holiday and make children's wishes come true, keeping faith in the miracle of the New Year," says Dmitry Pegov.
Maria Abdrimova

Read next content