Allegro (train)

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Karelian Trains Class Sm6
Sm6 Allegro 7053 Helsinki.JPG
In service 2010–
Manufacturer Alstom
Built at Savigliano
Family name Pendolino
Constructed 2009–2011
Entered service 2010
Number built 4
Number in service 4
Formation 7 cars
Capacity 337 + 2 disabled access
+ 38 in restaurant
Operator VR Group, Russian Railways
Line(s) served Helsinki – St. Petersburg
Specifications
Train length 184.80 m (606 ft 4 in)
Car length 25.00 m (82 ft 0 in)
27.20 m (89 ft 3 in)
Width 3,200 mm (10 ft 6 in)
Height 4,270 mm (14 ft 0 in)
Floor height 1,270 mm (4 ft 2 in)
Platform height 550 mm (22 in)
1,100 mm (43 in)
Doors 12+12
Maximum speed 220 km/h (140 mph)
Power output 5,500 kW (7,400 hp)
Power supply (?)
Electric system(s) 25 kV 50 Hz AC
3 kV DC catenary
Current collection method Pantograph
Track gauge Russian track:
1,520 mm (4 ft 11 2732 in)
Finnish track:
1,524 mm (5 ft)
Wheelsets:
1,522 mm (4 ft 11.9 in)[1]

The Allegro is a high-speed train service between Helsinki, Finland, and St. Petersburg, Russia. The service started on 12 December 2010.[2][3] 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 36 minutes[4] and there are plans to bring it down to 3 hours.[5] The name Allegro is a musical term for a quick tempo, thereby suggesting "high speed".

Route[edit]

Allegro train ticket from St. Petersburg to Helsinki.

Allegro connects the following stations:[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.

Passport and custom controls[edit]

Russian passport stamp obtained while travelling on the Allegro

On board the train, each passenger is visited by four officials: a Finnish passport control officer, a Finnish customs officer, a Russian passport control officer and a Russian customs officer.

Between Vyborg and Vainikkala, the train travels in custom surveillance zone. During this period, the restaurant is closed and nobody can leave the train without permission from the relevant officers.

Vehicles[edit]

Driver's cabin

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[7] 'Pendolino Nuovo' or 'New Pendolino' designs and its construction differs from the Sm3 in many ways.[1]

The top speed of the train in passenger traffic is 220 km/h (140 mph) and the train can run at a speed of at least 200 km/h (120 mph) between Tikkurila and Luumäki and Vyborg and St. Petersburg after extensive rail works.[7] The aim is to reduce travel time between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg from 5½ hours to 3 hours.[5] The travel time as of 2012 was 3:36.[4]

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.[8]

On board services[edit]

  • Food: there is a restaurant coach, which serves food during the whole journey, except for the segment between Vyborg and Vainikkala, when the train is in customs surveillance zone.
  • 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 cooperation[edit]

The trains are owned by Karelian Trains, a 50–50 joint venture between VR Group (Finnish Railways) and Russian Railways (RZD).[2] 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.[9]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Allegro high speed Pendolino train presented at Finland station in Saint Petersburg". Alstom. 7 October 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Allegro launch cuts Helsinki – St Petersburg journey times". Railway Gazette International (London). 13 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "Allegro". VR. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Timetables". VR Group. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "News". Karelian Trains. Retrieved 17 April 2010. 
  6. ^ Timetables - VR
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ "2000-luvun tekniikalla kohti Pietaria" [Towards St. Petersburg with 21st century technology]. Rautatietekniikka (in Finnish) (Rautatiealan Teknisten Liitto RTL ry) 22 (2): 10–12. 2010. ISSN 1237-1513. 
  9. ^ "Putin joins Halonen on first run of high-speed Allegro train from Helsinki to St. Petersburg". Helsingin Sanomat International edition (Helsinki). December 2010. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Karelian Trains Class Sm6 at Wikimedia Commons