Allegro (train)

Allegro is a high-speed train service, operating Alstom VR Class Sm6 trains, between Helsinki, Finland, and St. Petersburg, Russia. The service started on 12 December 2010.[1][2] The aim is to reduce travel time between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg: before Allegro, the journey time was 5½ hours; currently it is 3 hours and 27 minutes[3] over a journey of 407 km (253 mi) and there are plans to bring it down to 3 hours.[4] The name Allegro is a musical term for a quick tempo, thereby suggesting "high speed".

Sm6 Allegro 7053 Helsinki.JPG
Service typeHigh-speed rail
PredecessorSibelius and Repin
First serviceDecember 12, 2010
Current operator(s)Karelian Trains (joint venture between VR and RZD)
StartHelsinki Central Station, Helsinki, Finland
EndFinland Station, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Distance travelled407 km (253 mi)
Average journey time3 h 27 min
Service frequency4 rounds daily (since May 29, 2011)
Line(s) usedRiihimäki–Saint Petersburg
On-board services
Class(es)Bussiness and Economy
Seating arrangements341 seats
Rolling stockKarelian Trains Class Sm6
Track gaugeRussian track:
1,520 mm (4 ft 11+2732 in) Russian gauge
Finnish track:
1,524 mm (5 ft)
Operating speed220 km/h
Track owner(s)Russian Railways
VR Group


Allegro connects the following stations:[5]

The trains also stopped previously in Pasila like every other passenger train from and to Helsinki, but this stop was discontinued on 27 March 2016 until on 29 March 2020, the stopped in Pasila was revived.[6]

Vainikkala (on the Finnish side of the border) and Vyborg are special stations: on trains bound for Finland, passengers are not allowed to leave the train at Vyborg, as the train only stops to pick up passengers; and on trains bound for Russia, passengers are not allowed to leave the train at Vainikkala, for the same reason.

Allegro train ticket from St. Petersburg to Helsinki.

Passport and Customs controlsEdit

Russian passport stamp obtained while travelling on the Allegro

On board the train, each passenger is visited by Finnish passport control and customs officers, as well as their Russian counterparts.

Finnish border control takes place while the train is travelling between Kouvola and Vainikkala, while Russian border control takes place while the train is travelling between Vyborg and St Petersburg. If boarding/exiting at Vainikkala or Vyborg, the checks take place inside these stations.


Karelian Trains Class Sm6
Driver's cabin
In service2010–
Built atSavigliano
Family namePendolino
Entered service2010
Number built4
Number in service4
Formation7 cars
Capacity337 + 2 disabled access
+ 38 in restaurant
Operator(s)VR Group, Russian Railways
Line(s) servedHelsinki – St. Petersburg
Train length184.80 m (606 ft 4 in)
Car length25.00 m (82 ft 0 in)
27.20 m (89 ft 3 in)
Width3,200 mm (10 ft 6 in)
Height4,270 mm (14 ft 0 in)
Floor height1,270 mm (4 ft 2 in)
Platform height200 mm (7.9 in) (Russia AC and Finland the North)
550 mm (21.7 in) (Finland the South)
1,100 mm (43.3 in) (Russia DC)
Maximum speed220 km/h (140 mph)
Power output5,500 kW (7,400 hp)
Electric system(s)25 kV 50 Hz AC
3 kV DC catenary
Current collection methodPantograph
Safety system(s)Finland: ATP-VR/RHK
Russia: KLUB-U
Track gaugeRussian track:
1,520 mm (4 ft 11+2732 in) Russian gauge
Finnish track:
1,524 mm (5 ft)
1,522 mm (59.92 in)[7]

The Allegro service is operated using Class Sm6 trainsets built by Alstom. Sm6 stands for electric multiple unit (Finnish: sähkömoottorijuna, literally 'electric motor train') model 6.

The Sm6 appears similar to VR's earlier Sm3 Pendolino series, but is based on the fourth generation[8] 'Pendolino Nuovo' or 'New Pendolino' designs and its construction differs from the Sm3 in many ways.[7]

The top speed of the train in passenger traffic is 220 km/h (140 mph) which can be reached between Kerava and Lahti. The train can run at a speed of 200 km/h (120 mph) between Tikkurila and Luumäki and Vyborg and St. Petersburg after extensive rail works.[8] The aim is to reduce travel time between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg from 5½ hours to 3 hours.[4] The travel time as of 2017 was 3:27.[3]

The Sm6 is equipped to operate on both the Finnish and the Russian railway networks. The units have dual-voltage electrical equipment able to use both the Finnish 25 kV 50 Hz alternating current and the Russian 3 kV direct current electrification. The wheelsets are built to run at over 200 km/h (120 mph) speeds on both the Finnish 1,524 mm (5 ft) and the nominally slightly narrower Russian 1,520 mm (4 ft 11+2732 in) gauge, and the doors are equipped with a retractable step to make boarding from both Finnish 550 mm (21.7 in) high and Russian 1,100 mm (43.3 in) high platforms easy. The units are equipped for both the Finnish and Russian railway technical systems, which differ substantially.[9]

On board servicesEdit

  • Food: there is a restaurant coach, which serves food during the whole journey, except during customs inspection.
  • Currency exchange: there is an agent walking constantly back and forth on the train offering currency exchange services.
  • Children's area: there is an area where small children can play.

Russian-Finnish cooperationEdit

The trains are owned by Karelian Trains, a 50–50 joint venture between VR Group (Finnish Railways) and Russian Railways (RZD).[1] The trains are able to run on both Finnish and Russian tracks.

On board the inaugural service were Finnish president Tarja Halonen and Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Allegro launch cuts Helsinki – St Petersburg journey times". Railway Gazette International. London. 13 December 2010.
  2. ^ "Allegro". VR. Archived from the original on 2011-05-11. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Timetables". VR Group. Archived from the original on 2010-11-30. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  4. ^ a b "News". Karelian Trains. Archived from the original on 2009-03-28. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  5. ^ Timetables - VR Archived June 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b "Allegro high speed Pendolino train presented at Finland station in Saint Petersburg". Alstom. 7 October 2010. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  8. ^ a b Salo, Sakari K (2011). "Helsingin–Pietarin liikenteen kehityksestä allegro". Resiina (in Finnish). Museorautatieyhdistys ry, Suomen Rautatiehistoriallinen Seura ry (1): 24–36. ISSN 0356-0600.
  9. ^ "2000-luvun tekniikalla kohti Pietaria" [Towards St. Petersburg with 21st century technology] (PDF). Rautatietekniikka (in Finnish). Rautatiealan Teknisten Liitto RTL ry. 22 (2): 10–12. 2010. ISSN 1237-1513. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-17.
  10. ^ "Putin joins Halonen on first run of high-speed Allegro train from Helsinki to St. Petersburg". Helsingin Sanomat International edition. Helsinki. December 2010.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Karelian Trains Class Sm6 at Wikimedia Commons