The fastest way to cross the border
Orchestra musicians the world over know that larghissimo, grave, lento, largo, or even larghetto mean a tempo slower than 50 beats per minute. The terms adagio, adagietto, andante, andantino, and moderato call for a progressively faster pace, upwards to 90 beats per minute. This tempo builds towards a frenzy when the word allegretto appears in a musical score, ultimately reaching to the “quick and bright” 105 to 132 beats per minute, a pace better known as “Allegro.”
Operated by a joint venture between the state railways of Finland and Russia called “Karelian Trains,” the high speed Helsinki-to-St Petersburg train, also called the Allegro train, uses an advanced version of the Alstom “electric multiple unit” (a type of train where each car has its own locomotion, the combined power of which allows the train to move unusually fast, speeding up and slowing down much more safely) used on Finnish railway lines, designed the Sm6. This Helsinki-to-St Petersburg train does not operate as fast as the Sapsan trains run by Russian Railways (where the Siemens Velaro RUS EVS are employed); the Allegro train achieves a top speed of only 220 kilometers per hour (135 miles per hour). However, this train from Helsinki to St Petersburg tilts when it rounds a curve. This feature allows these high-speed trains to operate on already existing tracks, avoiding the cost of constructing newer and straighter routes. On the Finnish side, the Helsinki to St. Petersburg train makes five stops before reaching the Finnish passport control and customs station at Vainikkala, while on the Russian side, the route is a direct express between St. Petersburg’s Finland Station and Vyborg. Once passengers arrive at either of these two stations, they are not allowed to leave the Allegro train on their own until they have cleared customs on the far side of the border crossing. The trip on this modern train from Helsinki to St Petersburg (or in reverse) typically takes a little more than 3-1/2 hours.
Allegro Train Tickets Sales
Helsinki - St. Petersburg flight durations typically are under an hour, which, in time comparison, still gives air travel an advantage - even if budgeting in an hour on each side for transfer from the city center to terminal - but luggage-toting passengers may find these trains more convenient than dealing with the typical baggage claim experience at Pulkovo or Vantaa, particularly if they want to access their suitcases during the journey.
This Helsinki to St Petersburg train caters to the requirements of the modern luxury and business traveler. Whereas comfortable seats are reserved for business and first class on an airplane, the high-speed train from Helsinki to St Petersburg maintains comfortable seating for all its passengers, with a little extra legroom for those going first class. Wi-fi is available onboard for any laptop user with a need to stay connected online, and there is even a children’s area for little ones to play. Food is served in a dining coach for the duration of the ride, except in the customs surveillance zone between Vyborg, Russia, and Vainikkala, Finland. The Allegro train cabins are kept impeccably clean, with all accommodations well-maintained.
The high-speed Helsinki-St. Petersburg train offers automatic check-in, much like you would see at any airport. Booking can be done with greatest convenience online, and boarding simply requires a passport - the number is recorded at the time the passenger places the reservation.
Layout: click on the carriage (train car) number to open layout in a new window
- The express is also provided with seats for disabled people, a dining car, a conference room, a children's play area and a currency exchange office.
- Allegro is the first train with customs control en route (read "Specific to this train" for more information).
- This is a non-smoking train
- Features children's play corner and a table for swaddling and nappy changing
- Internet Wi-Fi on board
- Currency exchange provided (in Finland) as well as Tax-Free certificate shopping
- Potable water
- Passenger information system in Russian, Finnish, and English
- Specially trained international crew fluent in three languages
First class features:
- Lounge meeting room with 6 seats
- Leather seats
- Self-service zone with water, tea, and coffee
- Complimentary newspapers and magazines in English, Finnish, Russian
- Radio headphones
- Access to a buffet bar (soft drinks, select alcohol, and snacks are included in the Allegro train ticket price)