The Lastochka Travelled to Russia by Land and by Sea

brown and gray concrete building during daytime

DB Schenker, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, fulfilled a contract to transport 38 Desiro trains to Russia. The fully assembled trains were delivered to St. Petersburg from February 2012 until June 2013. It took about 21 days and multiple crane-assisted reloading activities for the cars to cover 2,700 kilometers and reach their destination.

Siemens AG sold 38 Desiro RUS suburban-traffic trains comprised of five cars each to the Russian Railways – RZD. Produced at Siemens works in Krefeld, the trains got the Russian name “Lastochka” (Russian for “Swallow”). They will also be used in Sochi during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Siemens struck an agreement with Schenker Deutschland AG’s Global Projects Division (representative office in Düsseldorf) to get the trains from Krefeld Port on the Rhine to Metallostroy depot in Russia (ТЧ-10). In this depot the train is put into service for further checks and trial runs required to obtain RZD permit for operation.

The first train was loaded in the Port of Krefeld on February 16, 2012. The contract is a real challenge for Schenker experts, as these were the first transports along this route.

The cars measure 26 meters long and 3.5 meters wide. The height from the railroad bed level is 485 centimeters. Weight is about 60 tons. Dimensions and size (1,520 mm) of this electric train make the trucking through Germany impossible. It took some time to elaborate a proper transport plan in order to deliver the Lastochka to Russia.

At the first stage, the trains were hauled from Krefeld works to the port. There, the cars were rolled onto railway platforms, tailor-made by DB Schenker to comply with the terms of this contract. The cars remain on the platforms for some time enroute as well as during crane operations. Five separate cars (one train set) is then shipped as a single batch by an inland navigation ship from Krefeld to Amsterdam through the Rhine. After that, the cars are loaded on an ocean-going vessel in Amsterdam and dispatched to Sassnitz.

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On Sassnitz sea terminal, the cars are discharged onto the jetty and then rolled off the platforms through the ramp onto a special truck with integrated 1,520-mm wide rails. The cars are later taken to the RTS Rail Terminal in the Port of Sassnitz-Mukran – the only German port for railway ferries with a wide track. The train is formed again, loaded onto MS Petersburg ferry with wide rails and sent to Ust-Luga.

“Loading these regional trains calls for utmost accuracy. By synchronizing operation of two mobile harbor cranes, we managed to tackle the difficulties related to headwind gusts and other issues. Such projects are routine for our teams, but the trains for the Olympics are really something special,” explains Valdis Andersons, Head of Buss Sea Terminal Sassnitz GmbH & Co. KG.

The ferry trip duration is 48 hours. From Ust-Luga the train had to travel 150 kilometers more along RZD tracks towards Metallostroy depot. The first Desiro RUS set arrived at the depot on March 06, 2012.