Helsinki to St Petersburg by fast Allegro train      Helsinki to Moscow by train

Russian & Finnish Railways (RZD & VR) have formed a joint venture to run a high-speed Helsinki-St Petersburg train service called Allegro.  On 12 December 2010, two daily Allegro pendolino tilting electric trains started linking central Helsinki with central St Petersburg in an airline-beating 3 hours, down from the 5 hours of the old Sibelius and Repin.  This was increased to four daily departures in May 2011 and in due course the service will be speeded up to 3 hours flat.  The 130 mph tilting trains use the existing track, the time is saved by track upgrading, tilting into curves, no longer requiring a time-consuming locomotive change at the frontier, and streamlined border checks.  News story Photos.

 Helsinki ► St Petersburg

 

 

 

 St Petersburg ► Helsinki

 Daily 

Allegro

Allegro

Allegro

Allegro

 Daily  

Allegro

Allegro

Allegro

Allegro

 Helsinki

depart

 05:12*

 09:00*

 14:00*

 18:00*

 St Petersburg Finlandski

depart

06:50

11:25

15:25

20:25

 St Petersburg Finlandski

arrive

10:48

14:36

19:36

23:36

 Helsinki

arrive

08:26

13:01

17:01

22:01

The Russian border station is Vyborg.  Since September 2006, these trains have been once again using St Petersburg Finlandski station.

* IMPORTANT:  Russia is now GMT+4 all year round, Finland is GMT+2 in winter, GMT+3 in summer, so the Helsinki times shown above vary by an hour in summer, always check at www.vr.fi.

Fares...

How to buy tickets...

Buy tickets online:  You can buy Allegro tickets online for travel in either direction at the Finnish railways website www.vr.fi.  Select 'English' at the top, then simply use the journey planner, entering 'St Petersburg (Finlandski)'.  You pay online and an e-ticket is emailed to you.

From Helsinki to St Petersburg:  You can buy Helsinki-St Petersburg tickets at the station reservations office (the office at Helsinki is open 08:30-16:30 Monday-Friday, closed Saturday & Sunday), or via the Finnish railways website www.vr.fi.  Or you can call Finnish Railways international reservations on +358 9 2319 2902 (Normally they require you to collect tickets two days before departure, so be prepared to persuade them to allow collection on the day!).

From St Petersburg to Helsinki:  Use the Real Russia online booking system here, tickets can be booked online & collected in Moscow.  Or you can buy at any main Russian station.

On board Allegro trains...

The Allegro trains are electric tilting pendolino trains, with 1st & 2nd class, plus a proper restaurant car.  There's a children's play area, wheelchair spaces, and a conference room.  The first class fare includes a snack, newspapers and tea or coffee from a self-service counter.  Allegro trains are all non-smoking.  The place of entry into Russia is Vyborg.  See Russian news video.

Allegro train from Helsinki to St Petersburg   2nd class seats on the Allegro train from Helsinki to St Petersburg

The 130mph tilting Allegro train from Helsinki to St Petersburg.  Photo courtesy of VR

 

2nd class seats on the Allegro train from Helsinki to St Petersburg.  Photo courtesy of VR

2nd class seats on Allegro train Helsinki-St Petersburg   An Allegro train from Helsinki just arrived at St Petersburg

2nd class seats on the Allegro train. 

Photo courtesy of Mark Pascoe

 

An Allegro train arrived at St Petersburg.

Photo courtesy of Mark Pascoe



Helsinki to Moscow on the sleeper train Tolstoi...

The direct overnight train called the Tolstoi is easily the best way to travel from Helsinki to Moscow.  It's safe, cheap, civilised and comfortable.  The train has been completely refurbished, there are comfortable sleepers, a restaurant and even business class sleepers with private shower.  Border controls have been streamlined.

 Helsinki ► Moscow

 

 

 

 Moscow ► Helsinki

 The Tolstoi 

Daily

 The Tolstoi 

Daily

 Helsinki

depart

17:23*

 Moscow Leningradski

depart

23:00

 Moscow Leningradski

arrive

08:24

 Helsinki

arrive

11:17*

* IMPORTANT:  Russia is now GMT+4 all year round, Finland is GMT+2 in winter, GMT+3 in summer, so the Helsinki times shown above vary by an hour in summer, always check at www.vr.fi.

Visa entry-exit dates:  Travelling to Moscow, you enter Russia the day before you arrive in Moscow.  Travelling from Moscow, you leave Russia the day after you leave Moscow.  Make sure your Russian visa shows the dates you enter and leave Russia, not the  date you arrive in or leave Moscow.

Fares...

How to buy tickets...

From Helsinki to Moscow:  You can buy Helsinki to Moscow tickets online at www.vr.fi, booking opens 60 days before departure.  Simply click 'In English' top right, then use the journey planner to book Helsinki to Moscow (Leningradski).  You must collect the ticket from VR (Finnish Railways) self-service ticket machines or ticket offices in Finland, so do not book this way if you are starting in Moscow.

Alternatively, you can buy in person at Helsinki station reservations office (open 08:30-16:30 Monday-Friday, closed Saturday & Sunday), or you can call Finnish Railways international reservations on +358 9 2319 2902 (Normally they require you to collect tickets two days before departure, so be prepared to persuade them to allow collection on the day!).

From Moscow to Helsinki:  Use the Real Russia online booking system here, tickets can be booked online & collected in Moscow.  Or you can buy at any main Russian station.

On board the Helsinki-Moscow Tolstoi...

Second class sleeper on the Helsinki to Moscow train 'Tolstoi'.   Special business class sleeper on the Helsinki to Moscow train 'Tolstoi'.   Restaurant car on the Helsinki to Moscow train 'Tolstoi'.

A 2nd class 4-berth sleeper on the Tolstoi...

 

A business class en suite sleeper on the Tolstoi...

 

The Tolstoi's restaurant car.

All Tolstoi photos courtesy of Finnish Railways VR.


Find hotels in Helsinki, St Petersburg or Moscow

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.


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