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Tallinn Train Route Reopens

In spite of competition from many bus services to Tallinn, the trains operator is confident the route will be profitable.

Published: May 30, 2012 (Issue # 1710)

  • A view of Tallinn. Direct train service between St. Petersburg and Tallinn reopened Sunday after a four-year break.

A direct rail link between St. Petersburg and the Estonian capital of Tallinn reopened Sunday after a four-year break.

The train service between St. Petersburg and Tallinn was canceled in 2008 because of both technical and economic reasons, including insufficient demand. In the meantime, travelers have been able to reach the Estonian capital by car, bus or ferry (via Helsinki and Stockholm).

During the last few years, however, the interest in traveling to Estonia has increased greatly. According to data from the Russian Travel Industry Union, the number of tourists traveling to Estonia is growing by 15 to 20 percent annually.

Interest in Estonia is constantly growing. This is in part due to nostalgia among the older generation of Russians, said Sergei Korneyev, vice president of the Russian Travel Industry Union.

Estonia also actively advertizes itself in Russia. Just think of the annual offers such as New Year in Tallinn that can be seen everywhere.

Estonia depends primarily on St. Petersburg tourists, partly because of failed expectations from European travelers, he added.

However, the RussianEstonian border does not currently deal well with the heavy influx of tourists.

The more modes of transport there are to take people to Estonia, the better the situation is, said Korneyev. There are many people who are ready to travel by train. Although the train also has to stop for customs, it is more comfortable to sit on the train and wait for your passport to be checked than it is on the bus, he said.

The journey on the new train takes about seven hours, slightly quicker than the journey by bus. The train leaves St. Petersburg for the Estonian capital once a day at 5:32 p.m. from Vitebsky Railway Station, and departs from Tallinns Baltic Station for St. Petersburg at 7:03 a.m.

The train has both first- and second-class carriages and a restaurant car and provides wireless Internet access. The train can seat up to 204 travelers.

In spite of the competition posed by many daily bus services between Tallinn and St. Petersburg, GoRail, the new trains operator, is confident that the new railway route will be profitable. The company also sees increased traveler numbers as having important social and economic significance.

St. Petersburg is a large city that has become a center of economic and cultural life, said Alar Pinsel, head of GoRail. Interest in traveling between Tallinn and St. Petersburg has been increasing for a long time. Thats why today, four years after having closed the route, we have made the decision to reopen the rail link to serve passengers from both Estonia and Russia, he said.

According to Korneyev, the popularity of the new train will depend on its ticket prices. The price of a one-way ticket starts from 25 euros ($31).



Saturday, Aug. 23

Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.

Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.

Sunday, Aug. 24

The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.

Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.

Monday, Aug. 25

Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.

Tuesday, Aug. 26

Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.

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