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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A First-Class Ride to Vladimir

With a blessing from Metropolitan Vladyka Pitirim of Volokolamsk and Yuryev, a slick new suburban express train took its first run from Moscow's Kursky Station to the town of Vladimir on Thursday.

The train whisks passengers in newly designed ergonomic seats to Vladimir, a provincial city 191 kilometers from Moscow, in 2 1/2 hours. Bar services, on-board entertainment and telephone connections are provided.

Unlike its older counterparts the new train is also equipped with a toilet.

The 10-car train is guided electronically by a computer system, a Moscow Railroad press statement said.

The full ticket price to Vladimir for first-class seating is 40 rubles, 36 for second class and 32.10 for third class.

The train runs each evening from Kursky Station along the route immortalized in Venedikt Yerofeyev's cult novel, "Moskva-Petushki." It then continues on from Petushki to Vladimir and returns in the morning.

Yerofeyev's anti-heroes, victims of the vodka bottle who rode to Moscow to see the sights but always ended up back at Kursky Station, spent two hours on the old suburban train's hard wooden benches to get to the capital. The express streamlines the trip from Petushki to an hour and a half.

The train was produced by the Demikhovo machine building factory, which took over suburban-train building from a factory in Riga, Latvia, at the end of the 1980s.

The Moscow Railroad claims to be the biggest passenger transport enterprise in Russia, having carried 491.5 million passengers in 1998, or 33 percent of the rail passenger volume.