Russia's capital opens new rail line to ease congestion

Russia's traffic-clogged capital has opened a commuter rail line circling the city that is aimed at easing congestion on roads and improving connections between far-flung areas.

The rail line, called the Moscow Central Ring, is a 54-kilometer (33-mile) circle, opened Saturday. President Vladimir Putin was one of the inaugural day's riders.

The above-ground railway is based on a line started in the early 20th century, but which fell out of passenger service decades ago. It has 31 stations, many with connections to the renowned subway system. But some critics say the connections are ill-designed, requiring transfers on foot of up to 400 meters (a quarter-mile).

Moscow's is notorious for traffic problems, consistently rated in surveys as among the world's 10 most congested cities.