Russia,Finland Railways Open Direct Communications Russian Railways and Finland’s VR Group has completed critical meeting in St. Petersburg for Russian-Finnish direct railway communications.

In the final protocol, which was signed by the heads of delegations, includes Anatoly Krasnoshchek, First Deputy General Director of Russian Railways, and President of VR Group Ltd. Rolf Jansson, the parties summed up the results of freight and passenger traffic, and also formulated plans for the next year.

As noted by Anatoly Krasnoshchek, cooperation between Russian and Finnish railways is a good example of constructive cooperation. “Thanks to the joint work, we managed to find compromises that allow us to achieve results and good performance,” he said. 

“For example: three years ago we thought about how to increase passenger turnover, and now we are seeing growth of more than 10%. Three years ago, there were problems with freight traffic with a drop in freight traffic, but today it is growing. ”

For 11 months, 583.7 thousand passengers were transported between the two countries (an increase of 15.9% compared to the level of 2018). At the same time, most of the traffic – over 511 thousand passengers (an increase of 15.7%) – fell on Allegro trains. In the Moscow-Helsinki traffic, Leo Tolstoy trains and additional trains transported 72.4 thousand passengers (an increase of 17%).

“In the communication Helsinki – St. Petersburg – Helsinki by Allegro trains, by the end of the year it is forecasted to carry about 545 thousand passengers, which is 13% more than the level of 2018. In the Moscow-Helsinki-Moscow message, taking into account additional trains, it is forecasted to carry 78.4 thousand passengers, which is 14% higher than in 2018. Thus, the number of passengers carried will exceed 600 thousand people, which is even higher than planned last year, ”said Dmitry Pegov, Deputy General Director of Russian Railways.

In 2020, the railway workers of both countries plan to exceed this year’s figure by 2% and transport 649 thousand passengers. It is already known that during the New Year holidays more additional flights of the Allegro and Leo Tolstoy trains will be assigned than last year.

The parties also discussed the implementation of the schedule. They noted that this indicator for Allegro trains continues to deteriorate: for 11 months, the schedule for arrival at the destination station was 74.5%. Moreover, upon arrival in St. Petersburg, the execution of the traffic schedule was 92.1%, and upon arrival in Helsinki – 56.9%. 

The main factor causing delays is the technical condition of the track infrastructure in Finland, for which the Transport Infrastructure Agency is responsible. Travel infrastructure alone accounted for 78% of late cases. The reasons are speed limits set by the agency, traffic regulation by Finrail, travel operations, condition of the contact network, signaling, centralization and blocking (STB) and communications. 

“More than 70% of delays are due to the state of Finland’s railway infrastructure. This is what our state and the Transport Infrastructure Agency should work on. Fortunately, the new government has made very big commitments on such investments, ”said Rolf Jansson.

The management of the passenger complex VR Group, Russian Railways OJSC and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency held a meeting on November 12 on the implementation of the Allegro train schedule. According to information received from the agency, this year on the route of Allegro trains, work was carried out to develop infrastructure with a total investment of 20 million euros. So, the tracks were repaired in places subject to swelling, in the Kouvola – Lumäki section. Work was carried out to lengthen the tracks, replace and modernize turnouts, modernize signaling devices at the Vainikkala border station, and repair turnouts of a separate Raippo point.

According to forecasts of railway workers, based on data received from customers, the total volume of traffic in Russian-Finnish traffic will decrease by about 8% by the end of the year compared to last year: this includes exports to Russia – 20%, transit through Finland – 7%, import to Finland – 9%.

 For traffic through the Buslovskaya – Vainikkala and Svetogorsk – Imatrankoski border crossings, growth is expected, while at other border crossings there is a downward trend. The parties expect growth in transit transportation of fertilizers, coal and grain, as well as transportation of chemical goods. 

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