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Alpine Railway


Communications link - High Speed Trains - Allegro of RzD and VR-Yhtyma           

 Allegro Pendolino of Karelian Trains    
The Karelian trains, as subsidiary of the RzD (the Russian Railways) and VR-Yhtyma of Finland, introduces a new service standard on the border traffic between the larger cities in Finland and Russia. The company has acquired 4 new improved 400 / S220 series Pendolinos called "Allegro" for 3 - 4 daily trips between Helsinki Finland and St Petersburg Russia. The travelling times have been pushed down from 6 hours to 3,5 and later to 3 hours by building new high speed track, use of Pendolino high speed trains and passport and Visa inspections enroute instead of stopping in the border.
* Allegro Story * Allegro DestinationsAllegro Pendolinos * Allegro Technical Details *
Challenges and Potential for the Market * Pictures of the Allegro Units *

Karelian Trains Allegro Pendolino Sm6 nr1 unit onlin for the first time in Kerava, Finland
Picture above: this is the first picture ever published on the Allegro unit on it's test drive in kerava. The unit was run through a test program daily, 7 days a week, in the early 2010 to ensure the operations without any glitches. By years end 2010 all 4 units had been certified in Russia. 
Below: The roofline shows a multitude of communications devices needed for smooth operations in either Russia or Finland. Some of the Russian equipment date back to 1920's U.S.A. The large pole at the top is the other connection point to the radio receiver /sending device that was used by Pennsylvania, Great Nothern and several other U.S. railroading companies. Still reliable analog communications method, even if all the satellites would fall down!
Karelian Trains Allegro Pendolino unit outside Ilmala depot in Käpylä, Helsinki, Finland

 Allegro Pendolino Rolling Stock   
Each Allegro unit consists of 7 module Pendolino 400 series train, structure based mainly on the well working Finnish Sm3 class Pendolinos already in use by VR-Yhtyma in Finland. The new Finnish class Sm6 Pendolinos of Karelian Trains are further developed of the series 400 and S220 Pendolinos. One of the main design principles has been to use what has been found working well in the harsh climate, so the new trains use numerous components found on the earlier trains. Two main differences strike out: The roofline is more streamlines with more technology hidden behind the panels and the tilting system is now Alstoms own. The tilt is now pneumatic (air operated) instead of the older hydraulic (fluid operated) one. 

The services for the trains have been offered by the builder Alstom, which already has a subsidiary in Finland, but it is probable that VR-Yhtyma will provide these instead at it's depot in Helsinki. Another interesting alternative would be to provide the services in St Petersburg in the same depot where Siemens provides it's services for the Velaro-Rus / Sapsans

Karelian Trains Allegro unit 01 in Vuosaari
Picture: The Alstom Pendolino cab car hanging from the huge crane in the Vuosaari harbor in Helsinki Finland.       



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Created for by John McKey. Pictures by Stanislav Voronin, Ilkka Siissalo and John McKey.

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 Challenges and Potential for the Market       
Karelian Trains Allegro Pendolino Sm6 nr2 making it's way to Russian for certification beside the Kerava station, Finland

Karelian Trains Allegro Pendolino Sm6 nr2 on the curve at Kerava junction in Kerava, Finland  
The Karelian Trains Pendolinos are entering a difficult market. While the potential between the million cities Helsinki, Finland and St Petersburg, Russia is huge, the competition is getting tougher too.
The competitor St Peters Line offers overnight voyages WITHOUT the Visa for St Peterburg for up to three days. These are marketed well under 100 euros, which makes the large ship an attractive alternative for connecting center to center these two cities. The Allegro pricing has been initially raised to premium and passengers will still need also to acquire the expensive Visa. Allegro also faces the competition with numerous shuttle buses between Helsinki and St Petersburg, offering a very competitive pricing, the visa needed for this alternative too.
One could argue, that by cancelling the current Sibelius and Repin trains the passengers would board the better alternative Allegro. However, it seems like outside the rush weeks there are only a handfull of passengers travelling currently on these very slow trains. This also means that the Allegro has to win it's market by aggressive marketing or prepare for slow growth until the people slowly find the alternative themselves. As for the late 2010 there has not been a sign of this aggressive marketing.        

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 Karelian Trains Pendolino Technical Details      

Karelian Trains Allegro unit 01 in Vuosaari
Below the Allegro unit 01 cab car of "the northern series of Pendolino", a common train type in Finland. The Allegros are a further developed version of the 18 Pendolino 400s / S220 now in use in Finland. You can clearly see the cardan axle between the train body and the back side of the bogie as well as the pneumatic tilting mechanism bellows in the middle of the bogie.  Both pictures by Stanislav Voronin 2010.   !Click any picture to see al larger version of it!        
Karelian Trains Allegro unit 01 front in the air in Vuosaari

More to be added soon.   
Technical details   
-> Built by: Alstom in Italy  
-> Type: Pendolino 400-series / S220 
-> Owner: Karelian Trains
-> Operator:
Karelian Trains 
-> Delivered to use: according to plans in 2010 
-> Number of units: 4
-> Unit numbers: 01 - 04, UIC: 94 10 3890001 - 94 10 3890004  
-> Configuration: MCC+MC+3xT+MC+MCC

-> Capacity:   
-> operations area: Finland and Russia

-> Allegro consists 
  -- The UIC registeration number for unit 1: 94 10 3890001-0
  -- the class Sm6 consists are formed the following way:

      - 7151-7154 MC1: motor car with drivers compartment, 
      - 7251-7254 MH2: motor car,
      - 7351-7354 TPB: trailer, buffet
      - 7451-7454 TTPS2: trailer, second class
      - 7551-7554 TTP2: trailer, second class
      - 7651-7654 MP2: motor car, 
      - 7751-7754 MC2: motor car with drivers compartment

-> Track gauge: 1524/1520 mm  (5ft)
-> Unit length: 
-> Electrical systems: 25 kV 50 Hz and 3000V DC
-> Unit power: 5500kW (7478 Hp)
-> Operational max. speed: 220 km/h  (137 mph) 
       test drives were done with 10% overspeed: 242 km/h   
-> Tilting mechanism: active, pneumatic,  maximum tilt: 8%

-> Mass, metric tons:    
-> heated, airconditioned and partly pressure controlled environment for the passengers and train service personnel.  

Easy recognition guide

  • Large Allegro-logos on both fronts
  • Seen in Russian west and Finland 
  • If seen in Finland the blue color (of RzD) is missing form the Finnish class Sm3 pendolinos, which are either red or green.

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  Cisalpino (ETR470 Pendolino) story by Ilkka Siissalo in the Swiss section!    
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High Speed Services:
  Allegro - Helsinki Finland to St Petersburg Russia  
  AVE - High Speed service of Renfe Spain  
  Cisalpino - The Former Joint Venture of SBB/CFF and Trenitalia   
  FYRA - High Speed service of NS and SNCB in Benelux countries 
  Sapsan - High Speed service of RzD of Russia  
  Thalys - High Speed service from France to Benelux countries   
  TGV - High Speed service of SNCF in France           

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© Railroad Reference 2004 - 2010  -  Created 18.1.2010  John McKey, Updated 3.11.2010