On Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 the Desiro RUS type regional train was sent off on its first trip with passengers on board. The start button was pressed by Valentin Gapanovich, Senior Vice President of Russian Railways (RZD), Dmitry Pegov, General Director of High-Speed Passenger Service at RZD, Alexander Drozdenko, Governor of the St. Petersburg Region, and Jochen Eickholt, CEO of the Siemens Rail Systems Division. The train – named "Lastochka" (Little Swallow) in Russia – departed from Moscow Station in St. Petersburg and traveled via Chudovo to Veliky Novgorod. In future, the train will offer a daily service on this route as well as on the St Petersburg–Chudovo–Bologoye route during the winter timetable. Passenger service in Sochi and Kazan is also planned to start by the end of the 2013.
"When RZD and Siemens commenced production of the Latochka series at the Siemens plant in Krefeld, Germany, in April 2011, we were aiming to put the new regional trains into service by autumn 2013 – a very ambitious plan at that time, in our opinion. But we managed to ship the first trains sooner and to complete the testing and homologation phase considerably earlier than planned. This is why we are now able to commence revenue passenger service in January 2013. I am certain that Lastochka will also overcome all the challenges it encounters in operation in Sochi," said Jochen Eickholt.