On 27 May Prime Ministers Matti Vanhanen and Vladimir Putin witnessed the departure of the new Allegro train from Lappeenranta to undergo tests in Russia. VR Group President and CEO Mikael Aro presented the new train to the Prime Ministers at Lappeenranta railway station. Mr Vanhanen and Mr Putin emphasised the significance of the Allegro project as the first high-speed rail connection between the EU and Russia. Finnish Minister of Transport Anu Vehviläinen and Russian Deputy Minister of Transport Aristov who have contributed to the development of the high-speed train project between the two countries also participated in the event.
VR and Russian Railways RZD aim to start Allegro services on the Helsinki - St. Petersburg line by the end of the year. Allegros will replace the current Sibelius and Repin trains and enable a gradual increase in train services between the two cities.
Travel time between Helsinki and St. Petersburg will initially be cut from nearly six hours to approximately three and a half. This is because the train’s locomotive will no longer have to be changed at the border and border crossing formalities in both countries will take place while the train is in motion.
(Source: VR Group Ltd)