Russia's railway monopoly RZD, top high-speed train service Aeroexpress, and Germany's Siemens signed a deal on production of new generation electric trains. According to the document, signed during the Strategic Partnership 1520 at the Fifth International Railway Business Forum, the railway companies will organize joint production of trains using electric motors and magnetic elements in Russia. RZD chief Vladimir Yakunin said the Russian Republic of Tatarstan is likely to be the production center of the new trains. The company plans that production would be 80% localized by 2017. Yakunin said the new train will be called Lastochka (Swallow). He did not specify the amount of investments into the deal.
The previous Russian-German railway project was the launch of Russia's fastest Sapsan train. It started its service on December 17, 2009. Along with its high speed, Sapsan caused a high degree of social tensions among residents living between the two largest cities in Russia, who became angry about the disappearance of budget rail tickets once the new train went into service. The price of a roundtrip ticket on the Sapsan is about 6,000 rubles ($200), equal to the monthly salary of a suburban resident. The Strategic Partnership 1520 got its name from Russia's railway track gauge which is 1,520 mm versus Europe's standard gauge of between 1,422 mm and 1,460 mm.