The modern speed train takes you from down-town St. Petersburg to the central station in Helsinki in 3 ½ hours. All customs and passport checks are conducted onboard. Travelers can even get their tax-free refunds onboard. With a ticket price of €86, the joint Finnish, Russian Allegro express train has become a great success.
Allegro express train at Helsinki central station. Photo: Thomas Nilsen
During the first year of operation, the Allegro express train has had around 280.000 passengers, far more than expected, reports Finnish railways VR-Group.
– The growth in the number of passengers on the Allegro is expected to continue. The aim is 500 000 trips per year by 2015 says VR’s Director, Long-distance Services Ari Vanhanen in a press-release.
Trips made by Finns to Russia are still mainly business trips whereas Russians come to Finland for the most part on leisure trips.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
The current situation in Ukraine makes cross-border cooperation with the neighboring countries even more important, Barents Secretariat leader Rune Rafaelsen says. At the same time, Norway has joined NATO’s condemnation of Russia’s military escalation on the Crimea peninsula.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.