Russia: Rise of the high-speed train surfers

Russian train in the snow

Train surfers are increasingly hitching rides atop Russia's high-speed trains for kicks or to dodge fares, it appears.

In the latest incident, two men from Moscow were detained in St Petersburg after travelling for four hours in freezing temperatures on the roof of the high-speed Sapsan that links the cities. The offenders, aged 18 and 23, suffered no frostbite, RIA Novosti news agency reports. They told police they climbed on top of the train for "thrills", not to avoid the expensive ticket, which costs about $120 (£73).

Russian Rossiya 1 TV reports that in November four children aged nine to 13 were found surfing a train "under a toxic influence" in the city of Perm. And Lenta news website describes how a 24-year old Moldovan man was detained in February. He was surfing the Sapsan only in "purple panties" in which he had stashed his passport. The website quotes transport police officials as saying fines for train surfing and hopping are ridiculously low. The Russian parliament is currently debating a bill to raise the fine from 100 roubles ($3;£1.90) to 5,000.

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