bullet point Helsinki to St Petersburg by Allegro train   Click for Helsinki - Moscow

Russian & Finnish Railways (RZD & VR) have formed a joint venture to run a high-speed Helsinki-St Petersburg train service called Allegro.  From 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 4 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.  See the photos.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: All trains to/from Russia suspended.  Russia's borders were closed due to Covid-19, now they remain closed because of the war in Ukraine.  No trains cross-border trains are running at the moment.  All international trains to or from Russia are cancelled.

 Helsinki ► St Petersburg

 

 

 

 St Petersburg ► Helsinki

 ALL TRAINS CANCELLED 

Allegro

Allegro

Allegro

Allegro

 ALL TRAINS CANCELLED 

Allegro

Allegro

Allegro

Allegro

 Helsinki

depart

 -

 -

 -

 -

 St Petersburg Finlandski

depart

 -

 -

 -

 -

 St Petersburg Finlandski

arrive

 -

 -

 -

 -

 Helsinki

arrive

 -

 -

 -

 -

The Russian border station is Vyborg.  Check latest times at www.vr.fi.

* IMPORTANT:  Russia is now GMT+3 all year round (they keep changing their minds, so check at www.timeanddate.com!), but Finland is GMT+2 in winter, GMT+3 in summer, so the Helsinki times shown above vary by an hour between the last Sunday in October and the last Sunday in March, always check current train times at www.vr.fi.

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

What are the trains like?

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 or light meal, 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

1st class seats on Allegro train Helsinki-St Petersburg   An Allegro train from Helsinki just arrived at St Petersburg

1st class seats on the Allegro train. 

Photo courtesy of Charlie Bowling

 

An Allegro train arrived at St Petersburg.

Photo courtesy of Mark Pascoe

1st class at-seat meal on an Allegro train   Bistro car on an Allegro train from Helsinki to St Petersburg

1st class complimentary meal on Allegro. 

Photo courtesy of Discoverbyrail.com

 

The bistro car on an Allegro train.

Photo courtesy of Hilary Onno.


bullet pointHelsinki 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.

Update:  This train is cancelled until further notice due to sanctions.

 Helsinki ► Moscow

 

 

 

 Moscow ► Helsinki

 The Tolstoi  cancelled

Mon-Fri, Sun**

 The Tolstoi  cancelled

Mon-Fri, Sun**

 Helsinki

depart

-

 Moscow Leningradski

depart

-

 Moscow Leningradski

arrive

-

 Helsinki

arrive

-

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

** The Tolstoi doesn't normally run on Saturday nights in either direction, but will run on certain Saturdays including from late May to early September.

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.

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

What is the train like?

A 4-berth sleeper with beds folded out   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 deluxe en suite sleeper on the Tolstoi...

 

The Tolstoi's restaurant car.  Tolstoi photos courtesy of Finnish Railways VR.


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