Russia, Finland launch speed train

09:06, December 13, 2010      

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Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (C) meets Finland's President Tarja Halonen (L) upon her arrival by the Allegro train at the railway station in Vyborg December 12, 2010. The new high speed rail link, the Allegro train between Helsinki, Finland and St Petersburg, Russia started service on Sunday. The Allegro train cuts the travelling time between Helsinki and St Petersburg by two hours. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

With a French-made Allegro train arriving at Russia's second largest city of St. Petersburg from Finnish capital Helsinki, Russia launched a speed train with Finland on Sunday.

The train carrying Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Finnish President Tarja Halonen and her husband among other representatives from both countries, arrived at the St. Petersburg Finlyandsky railroad station at 04:50 p.m. Moscow time (1350 GMT).

Halonen took the train from Helsinki at 01:00 p.m. Moscow time (1000 GMT), while Putin joined her in Russia's northwestern city of Vyborg.

The train will run at a maximum speed of 200 kmph on the Russian part, and 220 kmph on the Finnish part, thus covering the 443 km distance in just over 3.5 hours from six hours 18 minutes earlier.

The opening of the route marked another phase of the Russia-Finland cooperation, said the Itar-Tass news agency.

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