Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, trains from St. Petersburg have regularly been packed with Russians and Finns seeking to flee Russia before Western sanctions imposed on the country make it impossible.
Twice a day for the past month, a train departed from Russia’s second city to Helsinki. The two cities are about 400 kilometers apart, a train journey of about three and a half hours.
Every day in the first weeks of the war about seven hundred passengers were brought to Finland in this way. At present, this is still about 60 percent of the capacity per day. Allegro benefited from the increased demand, among other things, because many European airspaces were closed to Russian aircraft.
“Over the past few weeks, all people who wanted to leave Russia had the opportunity to do so,” said Topi Simola, the vice president of the Finnish railway manager VR. However, Finland’s Minister for State Enterprises Tytti Tuppurainen VR is now said to have pointed out that it is “no longer appropriate to provide the service”.