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Communications link - High Speed Trains - Sokol, Сокол          

To follow along with the developments in rest of the world the Soviet Union launched its own super fast trains initiative in 1993 following the "slightly successfull" ER-200 types, of which two were built back in 1967 and the third unit later. Picture of the ER200 below.
ER200 of the RzD, Russia

The Sokol was one of the projects of utmost importance for the national pride. The Soviet Union was already at the brink of a collapse by then and the new Russia with stronger economy had not yet been born for many years. So the times were tough both economically and structurally. The institutions which had been supporting the development for decades, were gone all of the sudden. 

Even so, the project progressed steadily. The hopes were high and 450 million US dollars were spent on the design and prototype. The construction of the Sokol-250 prototype was started in 1999 and by 2001 the train below was finished for the test run, which would prove the train to be "unsatisfactory".  

Here a Sokol-250 prototype train waiting for the tests at the test rink at The Rail Transport Research Institute - VNIIZhT in Russia.  

A single automatic coupler + bumper is typical for the Russian trains (as well as for all the U.S. trains). However this coupler in the picture might just be somekind of temporary coupler used when the train is towed from one place to another. Obvious from the picture is that this coupler must be retracted back under the (missing) cover from the harsh weather when not in use. Retractable coupler might not be a very good idea on fast trains in extremely cold climates as the Pendolino trains used in Finland have proved.


The bogie of the test trains along with impressive electronics to track developments on the tests. 

The entrance for the coaches of the test train. In Russia the platforms are extremely high to enable easy access even to the high floor vehicles. 

A great shot from the photographer showing the rounded nose of the Sokol-250 / Сокол-250. The engineer sure looks worried, as probably should before any test run.  

And the front view of the aerodynamic train!

The test runs in 2001 were unsatisfactory (this was widely published info, although the chief designer did not agree), called by the head of Ministry of Transport "historical mistake" with the price tag of 450 million dollars. The Commision found a total of 50 problems in the train!

In 2002 there was a second trial, with less problems, but it didn't help to save the project. Two years later appeared publications that the Russian Railways RZD would have wanted to continue financing this project, which would have needed some at least 10 million dollars more. It was argued to be cheaper to continue than to start a new project, and for the national pride Russia did not want to buy high speed trains abroad. However the project was abandoned and the trains whereabouts are unknown.
Nowadays things have changed and are chancing fast on the Russian railways. The Russian railways pride is the Capcan train, the Velaro-R unit, of which 8 units have accompanied the existing ER200 unit Between St Petersburg, Moscow and Nizhi Novgorod. Velaro-R will be initially capable of 250 km/h (155 mph) and upgradeable to 300 km/h (186 mph). The Karelian Trains Allegro Pendolino units are also providing high speed traffic of up to 220 km/h on the Russain soil.  

See also the Russian high speed theme page!      

  Russian High Speed Theme Page...  Updated

  To the top of the page     

Created for by Stanislav Voronin and John McKey. Pictures by Ilkka Siissalo, Sanna Siissalo, Stanislav Voronin, Siemens AG and John McKey.

 Also on super high speed

Super High Speed News provides you the newest happenings and trends in the super fast railroading. 

A TGV and AGV Theme Page provides information on these most succesfull super high speed trains.
See the Velaro & ICE 1,2,3 Page for these Siemens prides!

The Virgin Trains Pendolino class 390 is one of the many pendolinos found on the Pendolino page.  

It all started from Japan in 1964 with the first bullet train. See what the latest Shinkansens have to offer for the world! 

The Eurostars use the Channel Tunnel connect the U.K. to the mainland Europe. 

The Chinese CRH program is the most advanced  in the world and China will be the world leader in super high speed trains usage in just a few years.

One of the always popular trains is the Russian super high speed test train Sokol. While Sokol was a product in the wrong time period, the Russia today has an impressive high speed program starting.

Maglev of Germany and China starts the new generation of floating on the rail, the new comfort level of travelling! 

 Other pictures on High Speed Trains 

Paddington High Speeds in London Great Britain early 2007.  Picture by Stanislav Voronin 2007.

The Eurostar unit 3201 seen here passing 
a calais station in France. Picture by Ilkka Ilkka Siissalo.    

Finnish type Sm3 Pendolinos in the Winter weather near Savio in 2006. Picture by Stanislav Voronin.

The Shinkansen 300 from Japan.


Other interesting pages in the category on

On High Speed:
  Super Fast Trains Main Page  
  Super High Speed Trains News   
  Super High Speed Trains records Page   
  TGV & AGV page         
  AGV Page    
  Intercity Express - ICE  and Velaro Page       

  Shinkansen picture & fact page    
  Watching Super Fast Train at Paris Gare du Nord      
  The SNCF TGV Roster Page     
  Pendolino special page        
  Cisalpino (ETR470 Pendolino) story by Ilkka Siissalo in the Swiss section!    
  Sokol from Russia     

  High Speed in Russia   
  Super High Speed Efforts in the U.S.   
  Super High Speed in China   
  Maglev technology Page - levitation on the rail   

  Super High Speed Lines and Corridors...         
High Speed Services:
  Allegro - Helsinki Finland to St Petersburg Russia  
  AVE - High Speed service of Renfe Spain  
  Cisalpino - The Former Joint Venture of SBB/CFF and Trenitalia   
  FYRA - High Speed service of NS and SNCB in Benelux countries 
  Sapsan - High Speed service of RzD of Russia  
  Thalys - High Speed service from France to Benelux countries   
  TGV - High Speed service of SNCF in France      

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© Railroad Reference 2004 - 2010  -  Created by Stanislav Voronin &  John McKey,
Updated 31.8.2010  John McKey