Trains & Commuter strains, Helsinki
There are regular day time trains from Helsinki to St Petersburg as well as an exotic night train to Moscow. They are all named after famous historical Russians or Finns such as 'Sibelius' (the Finnish day-time train), 'Repin' (the Russian day-time train) and 'Tolstoi' (The Russian over-night train). From 2010, new faster trains were introduced on the route between St Petersburg and Helsinki. This should shorten the journey time from 5h 30min to about 3h.
You can buy single and return tickets. If you buy your tickets from Finland, the Finnish National Railways (VR) offers some packages: train journeys from Helsinki and 2 nights in a hotel from €200 upwards in St Petersburg.
Border formalities (tickets, passports, visa, Russian entry form and customs clearance form) are checked on board the moving train. Keep the above documents with you and within easy reach as you move about in the train. Before you plan any trips between Russia and Finland, make sure you've got a valid visa to enter the country. If you have goods to declare, inform the conductor before the train arrives at the border. Customs instructions for passengers can be read here
You can exchange currencies between Kouvola and Vainikkala at Safar Oy's currency exchange trolley. Only cash is changed, cards are not accepted.
There are so many trains leaving from Helsinki each day, it is a perfect way to leave and enter the city. The trainstation is also very central. It is easy to get anywhere from here. In the hall of the station is a tourist info where you can get your first information about Helsinki or Finland.
It is easy to travel to Helsinki by train from anywhere in Finland. And it easy to travel from Helsinki by train. Trains go even to Lapland and St. Petersburg (Pietari) + Moscow (Moskova) in Russia. One day trips to Porvoo, old wooden town.
Photo: The railway station of Helsinki was built in 1910-1914. The architect was Eliel Saarinen. The height of the building is 50 meters.
The Helsinki Central Train Station is located on Kaivokatu, where you can take trains to other parts of Finland such as Tampere, & overnight trains to lapland (e.g. Rovaniemi, Kemi).
It is also here that you can find yourself within easy access of all the major tram routes, bus routes, metro, & within walking distance to the main tourist information office (although there is a mini-information centre within the train station itself).
It's easy enough to use this as a starting point to most major attractions in Helsinki either by foot or other public transportation. You can purchase day cards (i.e. the HKL Tourist Chip & Pin Card that you can use for all trams, local buses & trains, metro & suomenlinna ferry) here either using the automated machines, or the 'R-Kiosk' (i.e. the newstand with the yellow signage). You can read more about travel cards in my tip dedicated for this.
Trains from other parts of Finland and St. Petersburg and Moscow bring you to the heart of Helsinki, in front of the Finnish Parlament House. The station building is designed by the famous architect Eliel Saarinen. It was ready in 1919, build 15 years.
As building material on facade is used Finnish stone, granit. The clock tower is a symbol, and the ladders are carried by stone statues.
Trams are a great way to see Helsinki from, and there is even one (3T) which happen to run close to the major sights and also the Silja line terminal. Apart from these ordinary green trams, there is the red "beer tram" which takes you on a sightseeing tour and serves Koff. Have a look at John the Finn's Helsinki page for details as I've never tried it.
Trains are rather inexpensive and reliable in this country and run almost always on time. From Helsinki, there are tracks to three different directions: to the west towards Kirkkonummi, to the north-west to Vantaankoski and to the north in the Tikkurila-Kerava-Riihimäki direction.
Helsinki railwaystation was designed by Professor Eliel Saarinen, who won an architecture competition in 1904. It was made of Finnish grey granit and the construction work took 15 years The building was finally inaugurated in 1919. A glass roof was built over the rails a few years ago. In recent advertising campaigns, the robust stone men guarding the entrances have become symbols of Finnish Rail.
nice train station, makes a warm welcome.
timetables etc are easy to understand, good signed. after you know, what you have to look for in finland when you are looking for the trainstation: rautatieasema!
Helsinki is well served by train from all over Finland. Popular daytrip destinations from Helsinki are Turku (170 km, 2 h) or Porvoo (50 km, 45 min). International trains leave to St Petersburg and Moscow in Russia.
Helsinki's Central Railway Station is located at Rautatientori (Railway Square); right in the heart of the city centre.
The main train station in Helsinki is worth a visit for architectural reasons, but of course most people visit it to get a train. English (as well as Finnish and Swedish) is generally spoken in the ticket office and they are generally very helpful with regard to sorting out your tickets. From Helsinki you can get trains all over Finland, as well as there also being a train service to St Petersburg (to Finland Station!) and on to Moscow. Trains seem to run pretty punctually, and this is not a claim that is made due to slack timetabling. Trains are clean and comfortable and travel on from the station is easy, with there being an underground station in the main train station.
The trains in Finland were probably the second most comfortable I have ever been on in Europe (the first being the ones in Austria). I had a rail pass that I had to get validated at one of the stations and I had no problem in doing this (despite the language barrier). The staff were friendly. The train itself had comfortable seats (I was in 2nd class), plenty of leg room and I had no problem with my suitcase.
On the Helsinki end of my trip I was able to get off my train and get right onto the metro, which has a stop right below the train station. Trams and buses can be found right outside the main entrance to the station.
The Railway Statin is one of the best-known symbols of Helsinki. This granite building, considered the mot important work by Eliel Saarinen, was completed in 1919. In style it represents the transition from National Romanticism to Functionalism.
There are excellent train connections from Helsinki to all major towns in Finland as well as to Lapland. There is also a daily train service to St. Petersburg and Moscow.
It also has Helsinki's main undergraund station and shopping centre. Supermarket is open also on Sunday, it is unusual in Helsinki:)))
Train travel in Finnland is rather expensive. If you are there in summer, check out whether you can buy the summer pass which allows you 3 days of travel within a months. Cost in 2005 Euro 109.
If you intend to use the Pendolino trains, then you have to get a reservation. The surcharge for this train is Euro 10 for each way.
Really! We do have a metro in Helsinki! Propably the easiest to use in the whole world...
But the trams are actually something to be proud of, at least the Pub Tram! The new tram cars made in Italy have proven to be no good when it comes to the Finnish winter. Just the same with the Suomenlinna ferryboat...
Helsinki is the railway hub in Finland (if you really want raise Finland's under developed railway system more than it actually is) connecting not only long distance destination but also commuter trains to the suburbs.
Trouth is that Finland's railway network sucks, not only are the connections lousy but very expensive as well. Try instead the buses...