Ukraine has asked Finland to hand over several passenger trains that ran between Helsinki and St. Petersburg. Petersburg and are partly owned by Russia. For the latter reason, a Finnish national rail operator said it was unable to deliver the vehicles itself, although it noted that talks about this were ongoing.
The request for four Allegro high-speed trains was made by the CEO of Ukraine’s Ukrzaliznytsia railway company Alexandr Kamyshin when he met Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin during his visit to Kyiv last week. The Prime Minister’s Office described their meeting as “spontaneous.”
According to local media, Kamyshin approached Marin at a kyiv train station as the Finnish delegation was leaving the capital, handing over “a piece of paper that looked like a map rather than an official letter,” which was addressed to VR Group, the Finnish public railway company.
Ukrzaliznytsia deputy chairman Alexandr Shevchenko told the STT news agency that Ukraine could use the trains to transport people to and from areas Kiev forces have captured from Russia. The trains themselves would adapt to Ukraine’s track width.
VR Group received the Ukrainian request on Tuesday through government channels. On the same day, Topi Simola, the company’s director of urban transport, told STT that the company could not hand over the trains to Kyiv or make a decision on its own on the future of the Allegros, because they belong to Karelian. Trains, a company jointly owned by VR and Russian national train operator RZD.
“We had negotiations between RZD and the financiers of the company about what will happen to this company and the trains in the future,” he added. Simola said, describing the situation as “easy enough.” The final decision, he claimed, depends on the consensus among Karelian Trains owners.
The Allegros were built in 2010 to shuttle between Helsinki and St. Petersburg and can travel at 220 km/h (137 mph). However, the trains stopped running at the end of March 2022 due to sanctions the West imposed on Russia over the Ukraine conflict. VR Group later rated the vehicles, with all four trains currently stored at the company’s depot in Helsinki.
According to Simola, although the Allegros have undergone minimal maintenance, it would still take some time to get them back on track.
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