It’s now quicker to get to Russia – thanks to simplified ticketing and a new high-speed rail link connecting St. Petersburg to Scandinavia. The Netherlands sees a drop in ridership while Amtrak hopes to pick up more passengers with leaf-peepers. Let’s get on the Fast Track to Rail News!
Quicker than Buying a Birkin: Buying tickets for Russian Railways will now be much easier, thanks to an agreement to be signed on September 25, 2010. Those in the EU can now book through the Hermes system with the support of the French booking system ResaRail. The tickets for domestic EU services will be available in Russia as well in booking offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Earlier such tickets in Russia could be bought on the sites of European carriers.
Come Helsinki or High Water: Starting December 12, the travel time between Helsinki and St. Petersburg will be cut by two hours to just 3.5 hours thanks to new high-speed Allegro service. Travel time is cut due to more modern trains, faster border formalities and an upgraded line. The top speed of the Allegro is 220 km/h.
Allegro has seats for 344 passengers of which 296 in 2nd Class and 48 in 1st Class.
The train also has currency exchange and tax free refund services. An Allegro journey from Helsinki to St. Petersburg in 2nd Class costs €84 and in 1st Class €134.
Dutch Don’t Think it’s a Treat: The high-speed train service between Rotterdam and Amsterdam is still carrying an average of just 75 passengers per trip, says NS Hispeed spokesman Ronald Stevens. The high-speed link cost €7bn to build. The Fyra train is capable of speeds of up to 250 kph but does not reach that yet because of safety concerns.
Peak Season on Amtrak: Passengers traveling on four Amtrak Cardinal trains will have a better opportunity to view the route’s fall foliage when the Amtrak Great Dome railcar makes special appearances on the route during two round-trips between Chicago and Washington in October and November. The refurbished vintage car dates back to 1955 and has a dome section that runs its full length, a rare feature even when dome cars were more numerous on the nation’s railroads. The Great Dome car “Ocean View” is the only Amtrak railcar of its type.