I have a short text (i have skipped the listing of all the cities the train stops at) in my text book where they refer to: "Это фирменный поезд." My slovar says that this type of train is owned in this context by a town. They also say that it could be owned by an organization or a specific firm.

How would you translate: "Это фирменный поезд."? "The firms train"? or privately owned train company..

Скорый поезд № 10 "Байкал" идёт от Москвы до Иркутска 72-76 часов (3,5 дня). Это фирменный поезд. : Фирменный поезд идёт быстрее обычного поезда, отправляются и приходит в удобное время, редко опаздывает и имеет лучший сервис. Он приходит всегда на первую платформу, и встречают его с музыкой. Несколько лет подряд поезд "Байкал" держит марку лучшего фирменного поезда России."

  • @Eва this does not look like a question about Russian language. Could you clarify what exactly you are interested in the context of this particular Stack?
    – shabunc
    Jan 22, 2016 at 22:14
  • @shabunc: technically the op are asking about the concept of фирменный поезд which is in scope. But again, this question might as well have been moved to Travel.SE
    – Quassnoi
    Jan 22, 2016 at 22:22
  • @Quassnoi - "I am a little curious about how come they can offer faster train service" definitely does not belong here but sure, with new title it's more clear, thanks!
    – shabunc
    Jan 22, 2016 at 22:24
  • @shabunc: Check the rephrase. Would you allow me to give the point/points to Quassnoi?
    – Ева
    Jan 22, 2016 at 22:28
  • Thanks @Eва! nobody in the world can stop you from upvoting anyone you want, don't get this wrong. Me also upvoted the answer.
    – shabunc
    Jan 22, 2016 at 22:31

1 Answer 1


How would you translate: "Это фирменный поезд."? "The firms train"? or privately owned train company.

I'd translate it as "premium train service" or "luxury train service" (or, literally, "signature train service").

That's a legally defined concept in ex-Soviet rail service which designates some popular routes.

Such a route has to have a proper name (like 001/002 Красная Стрела, the first route of that kind), a livery, satisfy certain requirements to the rolling stock etc.

They usually have more convenient arrival and departure times, offer some perks like better linen and snacks, include a restaurant car.

They are of course also usually more expensive than ordinary routes (sometimes slightly, sometimes significantly) within the same car class.

I am a little curious about how come they can offer faster train service. Do they stop at fewer stations and drive faster (have newer train) or perhaps make very short stops at each station?

They make shorter stops on the stations and have priority over other routes (if the line is to be shared by a premium and an ordinary route, the ordinary one has to wait). This means trains on ordinary routes just move slower, as yielding to the premiums is expected.

They also refer in the text about that they greet the train with music. Is this common in Russia? I read somewhere in another text in that music was played when that specific train was leaving its starting point.

Yes, this is quite common on those routes. They do play Gliere's "Hymn to the Great City" when 001/002 Красная Стрела arrives to St. Petersburg, and "Farewell of Slavianka" when 31/32 Тамбов departs from eponymous Tambov.

  • 2
    Actually, in some cases branded overnight trains run slower just to give their passengers enough sleep. For example, the Grand Express between Moscow and St. Petersburg spend more than 8½ hrs for the journey while some ordinary trains make it under 6 hrs.
    – ach
    Jan 25, 2016 at 6:54
  • @AndreyChernyakhovskiy: good point, convenience matters more for those trains than speed. However, longer distance premium routes like Жигули (Moscow - Samara) accommodate the same overnight schedule in a little more than 13 hours, while the others take as much as 17 or even more. In this case, taking this route is actually the fastest way to get there by railroad.
    – Quassnoi
    Jan 25, 2016 at 9:54
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    I think we should at mention the literal translation of "signature train" or "signature line"? en.wiktionary.org/wiki/signature#Adjective (just like фирменное блюдо). (It's no coincidence, see en.wiktionary.org/wiki/firmare. As far as I know, it's not from фирма in the sense of 'company'.) Jan 25, 2016 at 15:35
  • @A.M.Bittlingmayer, I am not so sure signature is appropriate here. Signature dish is the dish which distinguishes a restaurant; one may purposefully go to that restaurant to taste it. I don't think it's the same with фирменный поезд. Actually, before mid-19th century, фирма did literally mean signature. Later, it turned to mean a company operating under its own brand (the original idea was that the owner puts his name to vouch for the quality of his goods). The adjective фирменный means high-quality enough to deserve a brand.
    – ach
    Jan 27, 2016 at 7:20
  • It is an English question in the end. I don't see how the use of signature in the culinary context leads you to say " I don't think it's the same with фирменный поезд". My point is that the connection to company is misleading here. I think signature or specialty is appropriate here in English. See google.ch/search?q=%22our+signature+routes%22 and decide for yourselves. Anyway, I believe @Quassnoi added the literal translation with signature now. Jan 27, 2016 at 8:53

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