Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Finnish President Tarja Halonen have been among the first passengers to board a new high-speed train.
The French-made “Allegro” is a fast inter-city link between Helsinki and St. Petersburg.
The two leaders met at the border town of Vyborg before travelling together in a VIP carriage to Russia’s second city.
The 450-kilometre connection will cut the normal six hour journey time by over two hours. It is one of only two Russian high-speed links after the construction of a line between Saint Petersburg and Moscow.
And it could come at a more opportune moment as Vladimir Putin revealed several more express lines were being planned to serve the 13 Russian cities which will host the 2018 World Cup.