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Russian train introduces stop for a single schoolgirl

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

image copyrightJohn Burcham
image captionKarina Kozlova spends little time at home because of her long commute.

A key railway route in northwestern Russia has introduced a stop to serve just two passengers: a 14-year-old girl and her grandmother.

According to the Gudok newspaper, the Saint Petersburg-Murmansk train route has begun to serve remote Poyakonda, to help 14-year-old Karina Kozlova get to and from school.

For the last decade, Karina's grandmother Natalia Kozlova, a former nursery school teacher, has been making a long excursion to transport Karina and other children in the Poyakonda locality to school and back.

Trains on the route previously only stopped in Poyakonda as a technicality to pick up and drop off railway staff, and so the Kozlovas have had no choice but to travel at the same time as them, or else risk Karina missing school.

Gudok says that for many years, the Kozlovas have been commuting for three hours a day. They catch a train at half past seven in the morning and their 7:10pm return journey means that they arrive home "close to nine at night".

"Every morning, I waited for the children by the village kiosk, then we walked 1km (0.6 miles) to the Poyakonda station," Ms Kozlova tells Gudok.

"We took the train to the Knyazhaya station, picking up other children along the way… then took the bus to school. After school, we took the long-distance train home."

The introduction of the stop along the Saint Petersburg-Murmansk route means that Karina will no longer have to wait until the end of the day to travel home.

She is the only child still being transported by Ms Kozlova to school from Poyakonda, a small hamlet with no more than 50 residents. Most of Poyakonda's residents are employed by a bioscience research facility run by the Moscow State University on the White Sea coast.

Reporting by Vitaly Shevchenko, Kerry Allen

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