Sibelius Express

July 4, 2007

*** REPLACED BY THE ALLEGRO TRAIN SERVICE IN 2010 ***  The Sibelius Express was an international passenger service operated by VR (Valtionrautatiet), the Finnish State Railways between Helsinki, Finland and St Petersburg, Russia.  The journey time was 5 hours 28 minutes with customs and immigration taking place at Vainikkala. Russian State Railways (RZD) also operated a service, named 'Repin' between the two cities departing St Petersburg in the morning and returning from Helsinki in the afternoon.



The "Sibelius Express" was introduced on 31st May 1992 after the fall of the Soviet Union to provide additional capacity alongside the Repin due to increased passenger demand. However, both services were withdrawn on 12th December 2010 due to the introduction of the new, faster and more frequent Allegro service.  


My Story


On Wednesday 4th July 2007, I travelled on the Sibelius Express train from Helsinki to St Petersburg - this was the first train journey that formed part of my Trans-Mongolian trip to Beijing.  The train was hauled by 3013, a VR class Sr1 locomotive built by Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Plant, Russia in 1973.  At Vainikala, the border station, the locomotive was changed whilst immigration and customs formalities took place.


As this was my first trip to Russia I expected to be interrogated at the border however that was not the case - it was actually a very relaxed in comparison to what one may expect when entering Russia.  The time passed by quickly, the journey was smooth and the train arrived St Petersburg-Finlyandsky station on-time. 


Due to previous experiences in Estonia when photographing near railway stations, sadly I only took one very blurry picture before leaving the station. 




My tickets for the Sibelius Express, departing Helsinki Central station on 4th July 2007




Photo Journal


There are always more photos to be shared, but sharing them all on this journal page will just make it look cluttered so if you want to see more photos for inspiration, check out my Flickr “Finland–2007” album.


A somewhat of an embarrassing photo, but at the time I was only 20!


VR locomotive No. 3013 heading up the Sibelius Express to St Petersburg



Suggested Links


The official Finnish Railways website and my “How to travel by train in Finland” guide

The official Russian Railways website


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