Russia Joins High Speed Rail Elite

Helsinki to St. Petersburg in just three-and- a-half hours by rail? That’s the news from VR Group, a Finnish company that strives to provide “environmentally benign transport and logistics services,” and one of the forces behind Allegro, Russia’s first high-speed rail service.

Service on Allegro started on December 12th, 2010, and has effectively cut two hours off of the standard commute time between these two cities, thanks to modern trains running at 124 miles per hour, faster border formalities and track upgrades, as well as by the fact that locomotives no longer have to be changed at the border. Service at present is limited to two daily round-trip services, but will increase to four in the summer of 2011.

Allegro Russia

image via Allegro

The Allegro train is a joint venture of VR Group and Russian Railways, effectively replacing the Finnish Sibelius and Russian Repin trains on the Helsinki-St. Petersburg line, which will no longer operate. However, the Russian night train Tolstoi will continue to run between Helsinki and Moscow.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.