Finnish and Russian Prime Ministers sent Allegro Train for tests in Russia
Prime Ministers Matti Vanhanen and Vladimir Putin witnessed the departure of the new Allegro train for tests in Russia on 27 May in Lappeenranta while the Russian Prime Minister was on a working trip to Finland.
VR Group President and CEO Mikael Aro presented the new train to the Prime Ministers at Lappeenranta railway station. Mr Vanhanen and Mr Putin emphasized the significance of the Allegro project as the first high-speed rail connection between the EU and Russia. Finnish Minister of Transport Anu Vehviläinen and Russian Deputy Minister of Transport Aristov who have contributed to the progress of the high-speed train project between the two countries also participated in the event.
It is great that a long-running development project is realized. Allegro services will inaugurate a new era and significantly improve connections between Finland and Russia, Minister of Transport Anu Vehviläinen says.
Technical testing of trains ongoing
The first of the high-speed Allegro trains entering service on Helsinki-St. Petersburg line has been undergoing tests during the spring in Finland. The test drives have proceeded without problems. The train set will now go to Russia for test drives.
The train has run approximately 11 000 km of test drives in Finland, mainly on LahtiKerava direct line. The test drives started after commissioning tests at the depot and tested the performance of the train set's systems, for instance brakes and the traction system. The first Allegro train set has also conducted extensive riding qualities tests, noise tests and tests of the train's qualities in sharp curves.
The second Allegro train arrived in Finland in early May, the third train is expected to arrive in July-August and the fourth in autumn.
VR and Russian Railways RZD aim to start Allegro services on Helsinki- St. Petersburg line at the end of the year. Allegros will replace current Sibelius and Repin trains and enable the gradual increase of train services between the two cities.
At first the travel time between Helsinki and St. Petersburg is cut from the current nearly six hours to approximately three and a half hours. The travel time is cut because the train's locomotive no longer has to be changed at the border and border formalities in both countries will take place while the train is on the move.
Track upgrade work underway
The start of Allegro services and reduced travel time also require track upgrade work in Finland and Russia. In Finland LahtiLuumäkiVainikkala line upgrade work is currently ongoing. In Russia St. PetersburgBuslovskaja line section is being upgraded.
The Allegros are owned by VR and Russian Railways RZD's joint rolling stock company Oy Karelian Trains Ltd. The operators VR and Russian Railways RZD are responsible for onboard and station services for passengers, timetables and ticket sales.
Karelian Trains and Alstom concluded a delivery contract in September 2007 on four Allegro trains. Alstom has delivered similar tilting-body trains to already ten countries.