The First Olympic «Lastochka» in Ust-Luga

The first train called «Lastochka» (Russian for «Swallow», produced by Desiro RUS), designed for the Olympic Games in Sochi, arrived in Ust-Luga on March, 4. The cargo was shipped from Germany by the «Petersburg» ferry (managed by BFI Ltd). Acceptance of the train was ensured by PUL Trans experts working at the car-railway ferry complex. The mooring and unloading of the vessel, including border registration, took 1,5 hours.

Start-up and commissioning will take place in the depot «Saint-Petersburg – Moskovskoye» (Metallostroy). Then the train will make test and certification trips on the railways of Russia. Dimensions of cargo total 26×3,5×5.

«Lastochka», produced by Siemens, is not the first high-speed train, delivered to Russia through the port of Ust-Luga. Earlier PUL Trans (a joint enterprise of RZD and JSC Ust-Luga, that operates the railway facilities in the port) already accepted high-speed «Sapsan» trains (Russian for «peregrine falcons»).

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«This train could get to Russia only through the port of Ust-Luga, as it has all facilities for unloading of the train – it is possible to put the set on the railway tracks right after mooring of the ferry. Furthermore, experience and special gear are required for operations with such complicated sizes», – mentioned Igor Yevstafiev, General Director, PUL Trans.

Due to the fact that the wagons exceed the gauge tracks, accepted in Germany, by almost half a meter, railway carriage turned out impossible. The set with a weight of 270 tn commenced its journey in mid-February from the Siemens factory to Krefeld port. The trains were transported in the course of three nights. In the port cranes loaded the cars on a river barge. Then the shipment proceeded along the Rhine River and the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal to the Dutch capital, where it was reloaded onto a coaster. The vessel forwarded the train to the Port of Sassnitz on the Island of Ruegen across the Northern and Baltic Seas. This port is Germany’s largest ferry port and the only one in Europe with 1520 mm broad gauge tracks.

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At the terminal Buss Sea Terminal Sassnitz GmbH & Co. KG the wagons were unloaded off the vessel by means of two mobile shore cranes, placed on the special tracks, mounted on a low loader, 38 m long, and moved to the terminal with broad tracks.

«Loading of a train is a laborious task, calling for specific accuracy – simultaneous operation of two shore cranes and unloading off a narrow hold posed main difficulties. Such projects are usual for our workers, but the trains for Olympic Games are something special», – explained Valdis Andersons, head of the terminal.

The entire route from the Siemens factory in Krefeld to Saint-Petersburg took 4 weeks – its extension comes to 7,200 km. To protect the valuable cargo from any damage throughout the shipment, the crew used special gear such as chains and jack-ups along with a standard scheme of strapping. «We didn’t face any problems while carrying the load. In Sassnitz the weather was good and we were glad to see the easy ice situation in the Gulf of Finland», said Sergei Starostin, chief mate on the «Petersburg» ferry.

Altogether 38 trains are scheduled for the port of Ust-Luga. The trains will arrive in Russia in lots every month. The passenger service on the Desiro RUS starts in Kazan and Sochi in 2013. During Winter Olympics in Sochi in February 2014 the trains will quickly deliver the athletes and passengers to the mountain areas.