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Long-awaited train traffic opens on Crimea Bridge as Putin becomes first passenger (VIDEO)

President Putin has opened railway traffic on the 19-km-long Crimea Bridge, which connects the peninsula with mainland Russia and is the longest in Europe. He called the bridge "a beauty" as he took a ride in the driver's cabin.

The construction of the bridge kicked off in February 2016, less than two years after the Crimean people overwhelmingly voted to reunite with Russia in a referendum. The link was crucial for Crimea, which only has a land border with Ukraine, so the 15,000 builders worked hard, often in difficult stormy conditions, to make it happen.

Automobile traffic across the 19-kilometer bridge, which became the longest not only in Russia, but in the whole of Europe, was opened in May 2018.

"It's not a bridge, but a beauty," Putin exclaimed as he gazed at the engineering marvel.

The much anticipated start of train transportation is "a big event," as it'll allow millions more tourists from Russia and abroad to visit Crimea, he said before getting aboard.

Long-awaited train traffic opens on Crimea Bridge as Putin becomes first passenger (VIDEO)

While on train, the President pointed out that crossing the bridge by train felt even smoother than by car. He was told that it was because the automobile section had elevation differences, while the railway part was strictly horizontal. The bridge allows the trains to reach the speed of 120 kph.

The first Crimea-bound train headed out from Saint-Petersburg midday on Monday. It will cover 2714 kilometers and arrive in Sevastopol, the main city of the peninsula, in 43.5 hours. It'll will arrive on its destination on Wednesday.

RT

Two more massive two-story trains will start circling between Moscow and Simferopol on Tuesday. They'll be packed, as all of the tickets were sold out already in November.  

Railway links, connecting Crimea and several other Russian regions, will begin operating by the beginning of the resort season in June 2020.

There was also news about another VIP directly linked to the Crimea Bridge. Mostic the Cat, who was adopted by the builders when the project just started, and became its mascot, will remain on site for several more months in order to personally oversee how the railway traffic works.

The animal is already wanted on other major construction sites across Russia, so that he could also bring them luck. Mostic is a real internet celebrity, who is followed by thousands on Instagram.

Also on rt.com Putin drives Kamaz truck across newly-opened Crimean bridge (VIDEO)

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