Russian Railways has launched its first high-speed Sapsan train between Moscow and St Petersburg, which offers a journey time even lower than by air on the same route.

The ten-car 604 passenger train travels at 250kmph and takes three hours 45 minutes to cover the 650km distance, down from the nearly four and a half hours by plane.

The launch comes just weeks after the route was targeted in a bomb blast in late November, when the Nevsky Express derailed, killing 27 people and injuring over 100.

Sapsan has been built by German group Siemens under a 30-year $907.5m (€630m) contract to supply and service eight trains.