ONE problem the Queen did not have to face on her trip to Russia this week was a new cordon sanitaire afflicting rail travellers. All trains from Moscow have their lavatories locked until they are two hours away from the Russian capital, in an attempt to reduce the spread of disease from human waste. Jenny Lo, a BBC producer who encountered the new rule on a journey from Moscow to Kazan, says the queues attain epic proportions.

Passengers who take the precautions suggested by the Foreign Office, however, will not be venturing as far as the loo anyway. Such is the incidence of robbery on Russian trains that visitors are advised to lock themselves into their compartments for the duration of the journey. The FO does not offer ideas for bladder control.