Finnish state-owned rail company VR plans to open passenger rail service to Russia at the southeastern border crossing in Vainikkala by Christmas, according to the company.
Rail traffic on the eastern border of Finland was interrupted in March 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.
VR’s announcement came a day after the Finnish government decided that the Vainikkala border post would be open to rail traffic from Monday, October 18.
“VR is preparing to open rail links with Russian railways,” said Viktoria HurrI, the director of Finnish-Russian passenger services at VR.
The Finnish railway company has said it plans to provide more details on the conditions and start date of the resumption of services early next week.
Return of Tolstoy trains also likely by Christmas
Hurri said VR is negotiating with Russian Railways to resume rail service to Finland.
“We have agreed on which trains will run, on what schedule and under what conditions passengers can be transported,” said Hurri.
The Russian Railways service to Finland, which goes by the name “Tolstoy”, is also expected to start operating by the Christmas season.
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“However, it is entirely up to our partner Russian Railways to decide when Tolstoy’s journeys begin,” she noted.
The border post at Vainikkala in south-eastern Finland only serves rail traffic.
In terms of the problems and restrictions related to the coronavirus, rail traffic will be treated under the same conditions as air or bus traffic.
“In other words, we have agreed on how passengers will be transported by train safely and in accordance with entry restrictions. It is great that we can start rail service after such a long pause, ”said Hurri.
Finnish border guards have said they are ready to resume necessary border controls.
On Thursday, the Finnish government also decided to remove all entry restrictions for passengers arriving in Finland from any of the countries or regions on the EU’s “green list”. Other entry restrictions will remain in effect until November 7.