By Marina Shumilo
These comfortable electric trains were dispatched to Minsk from Switzerland back in February, yet their tests along typical traffic routes began only in July.
My own journey began pleasantly, since there’s no need to waste time queuing for tickets. You can simply buy them from the conductor.
These new electric trains significantly ‘outstrip’ traditional models, boasting a spacious interior, equipped with information screens and air conditioning for comfort. Meanwhile, they can reach quite high speeds while retaining a smooth and quiet ride. You only realise how fast you are moving on looking at the information screen or seeing the rapid change of scenery through the window.
The train control system is almost completely computerised, with various screens showing sensor displays in the cabin. One of these shows images received from cameras installed in the passenger seating areas. “Undoubtedly, it’s more difficult to drive these trains than traditional ones,” notes engine driver Vladimir Povolyaev. “Our drivers have even passed a special week-long internship in Hungary.”
At present, two new Stadler trains are undergoing trials along suburban routes. In total, our Swiss partners will supply ten electric trains, four of which will be operational in the regions. The remainder will connect the Belarusian capital with suburban industrial and cultural centres. Of course, railways workers are primarily concerned as to whether people will use these trains, to help decongest buses, trolley buses and mini-buses. However, judging by the trial trip, passengers will be keen to use Stadler electric trains.