Russian Villagers Rebel Against Killer High-Speed Sapsan Train

High-speed Sapsan train, which travels between St. Petersburg and Moscow, hit a woman to death near Moscow, and then proceeded further as the driver had not noticed the accident. The tragedy occurred on Thursday morning, June 24.

The law enforcement agencies say that the woman "was crossing the rails in a non-designated area." Currently investigators are working at the scene trying to establish the identity of the deceased, Interfax reports.

"The speed of the train at the moment of the accident was approximately 200 kilometers per hour. The woman was seriously injured," a source in law enforcement agency told RIA Novosti, Moscow Region.

The police noted that law enforcement authorities learned about the incident only after the arrival of express train to Leningrad station, when they saw the damage to its front end. The impact wrecked the right side of the nose cone, leaving traces of blood.

"Russian Railways" company (RR) has confirmed the information about the death of a woman under the wheels of high speed train Sapsan, and added that they were trying to clarify the details of the accident. At the same time, RR emphasized that in the vast majority of cases the main cause of death under the wheels of trains is the violation of safety rules while standing on the rails.

This is not the first human death under the wheels of Sapsan since it has started the operation in the middle of December 2009. On Thursday the information was released that the family of a teenager killed by Sapsan in April of this year will be demanding a compensation of one million Euros from the RR.

"We consider the case to be not only a compensation and aid to the family, but also prevention of future tragedies," said Igor Trunov, the lawyer representing the interests of the parents of the deceased child, on Thursday.

The train hit 15-year old Alexei Bogdanov on April 16 of this year. "No criminal charges have been filed. There was an investigation which made it obvious that the fact of death is associated with the lack of signaling, which qualifies as neglect and abuse," the lawyer said.

"We are going to file a claim with RR and will make a separate appeal regarding the failure to prosecute. There are witnesses who can confirm that the warning alarm had been disabled," Trunov said. "The amount will be left to the discretion of the court, usually, the compensation is negligible. The lawsuit will state the sum in compliance with the international standards - one million Euros in ruble equivalent," he said.

Meanwhile, a few days ago high-speed train Sapsan running between Moscow and St. Petersburg was once again "attacked," only this time the assailant was arrested. The violator was a teenager.

Since the launch of Sapsan in mid-December of 2009 it was attacked nearly 50 times, said Vladimir Yakunin, RR President. Unidentified individuals threw stones and other objects at the train, placed rocks on the tracks. However, in most cases violators could not be found.

According to referring to the press office of the Northwestern Department of Transport Internal Affairs, on June 22 near station Chudovo of Novgorod region the head of Sapsan train reported that a glass of the train car number 5 housing a bistro was damaged.

The escorting team questioned the passengers who said they noticed a teenager near the railway tracks who was throwing stones at the passing train. On the "hot pursuit" transport police arrested a 13-year-old violator at Chudovo station. He said to the police that "he was just walking near the station, and decided to throw a stone at the train for fun to see what happens."

The law enforcers called the boy's father who had to write an explanatory note. The police have drawn up a report on administrative violation under Art. 5.35 Code of Administrative Offences. The child and his parents were explained the dangers of such “mischief.”

Recently, the head of RR Mr. Yakunin threatened to "identify and catch the attackers” of Sapsan. He reported that 14 such criminal cases were initiated and in the production. Another nine cases were in the decision-making phase, while one person has already been convicted of vandalism.

Meanwhile, he said: "The media is replicating some nonsense alleging "guerrilla war"against Sapsan. It is very frustrating that members of the State Duma we have chosen also talk about it.” Yakunin formulated his attitude towards the issue in the form of a rhetorical question: "If people do not live well, why do they consider themselves entitled to throw stones at the tracks of the express train?”

Earlier, media outlets, including foreign ones, tried to figure out why Sapsan was being rejected by residents of Tver, Novgorod and Leningrad regions. They found out that "class struggle" of the poor against the rich had nothing to do with it.

People are not happy with two facts: the change in the usual schedule of electric trains that made many radically revise their daily route to work, and the fact that the railway authorities did not seem concerned about ensuring the safety of people living near the railway tracks.

According to media, a 35-year-old resident of Tver region Mikhail Samartsev was one of the first “guerillas.” In January of 2010 he threw a piece of ice at the train and admitted that he wanted to "take revenge for an insult,” caused by the train. Michael once walked along the railroad tracks, and Sapsan, racing at high speed, knocked him down with the air waves.

Such incidents were numerous. Not just stones, but also tomatoes, and chunks of ice have been thrown at the train before. According to the head of Russian Railways, in winter people would place "enormous snow people" on the tracks, forcing Sapsan machinists to use emergency brake.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov