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New 'Arctic Express' rail link between Lapland and capital

Helsinkians who fancy a quick weekend visit to Lapland by rail will be able to do so when the VR State Railways winter schedule takes effect.

Pendolino Turun rautatieasemalla helmikuussa 2010
Superfast Pendolino trains will whisk southerners to Lapland in about eight hours. Image: YLE

High-speed Pendolino trains will begin plying the Rovaniemi-Helsinki route later this month. At first, though, the trains will only run once a week between the Finnish capital and the main city of Finnish Lapland, which is situated on the Arctic Circle.

The train will depart Helsinki on Saturday mornings at 9.30 am, arriving in Rovaniemi at 5.45 pm, making the approximately 800-kilometre trip in just over eight hours – or almost as long as it takes to fly to New York.

Pendolinos can travel at up to 220 kilometres an hour.

Better connections from Kuopio and Vaasa

The southbound departure is from Rovaniemi around 3 pm Sunday, pulling into Helsinki’s main station shortly before midnight.

In other changes, the travel time for the morning train from Kuopio to Rovaniemi will shorten by an hour. This will improve onward connections to other points in Lapland.

There will also be a new direct Pendolino link between the capital and the west-coast city of Vaasa. It will allow business people to come to Helsinki for the day, for instance.

The changes take effect on Sunday 27 October, when European Summer Time ends. Thus the first high-speed departure from Helsinki to Lapland will be on 2 November.

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