Railways of Finland (2011)
Our 2011 European trip took us to Helsinki in late May, as part of our Road Scholar Scandinavian tour, and again about a month later, when we returned to visit Marcia's family near Seinäjoki, about 225 miles north of Helsinki. During our first visit, I was able to spend time at Helsinki Central Station, where I watched long-distance and local trains come and go. The most interesting train I saw was the 1752 departure of the Tolstoi overnight train for Moscow, consisting of Russian sleepers, coaches and restaurant car. On our later visit, I happened to catch the Helsinki-bound Tolstoi train during its station stop at Tikkurila. Finland's intercity services are provided by government-owned operator VR. Unlike the rest of Europe, where standard gauge (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in, or 1435 mm) is common, Finland's rail network uses a five-foot (1524-mm) gauge, compatible with Russia's 1520-mm system.
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