FPC officials say that they are aiming to begin operation of new double-deck coaches on services primarily between Moscow and the region of Krasnodar, which includes Sochi, in November, ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.Tver Carriage Works has built 50 coaches for FPC which have double the capacity of existing units, with the order consisting of 38 four-berth compartment coaches, four double-berth compartment coaches, four staff coaches and four dining cars. The new double-decker cars will have 64 passenger seats, instead of 36 in existing standard single deck coaches.

Services from Moscow to Voronezh, Smolensk and Tula will use conventional seated coaches, while services to the Black Sea and Krasnodar region will be equipped with sleeping facilities. The coaches include air-conditioning, toilets and WiFi services, but luggage racks have been eliminated to maximise internal space.

• While it introduces new double-deck passenger coaches on some routes, FPC is simultaneously engaging in a plan to reduce the frequency of loss-making services on others. To date, 20 trains in various areas of the country have been withdrawn, and from June 1 this will increase by another 44, with further cutbacks expected.

FPC says that it has no alternative to make the cuts due to an absence of state funding.

"In the last two years we have been forced to finance the transport of passengers on the routes with regulated tariffs, and in November and December we used only our own funds," says Mr Mikhail Akulov, head of FPC. "For this period we did not receive Roubles 14bn ($US 370m) of the state subsidies that we were promised."

In order to resolve the problem in the future, Akulov says the government must decide which routes and what kind of trains citizens will be able to use at regulated tariffs. Akulov suggests that the Ministry of Transport should regulate this issue and pay the regulated tariffs for the most important social routes to guarantee lower ticket prices for certain citizens.

To avoid losses to FPC in future, and to prevent further cuts to the number of trains, Akulov suggests implementing a new system of government contracts, perhaps similar to the system used by aviation, which offers an overview of routes and advises the specific number of passengers that FPC should receive government funds to serve. Railway companies will execute only this order and the state will allocate sufficient funds to reimburse the carrier for any losses incurred for offering passenger transport at lower prices.