The Passenger Line in Finland

The line skirts the Russian border, passing within half a mile of it. Until recently sleek Allegro high-speed trains cut the journey to St Petersburg down to three and a half hours.

The station serves as a terminal for special events at the Lahti Urheilukeskus arena each winter and for a few summer railcar excursions over other VR lines (1524 mm gauge). Further details from event organisers or Porvoon Museorautatie.


Trains are modern and run by VR. They offer a range of amenities including entertaining children’s playrooms and overnight cabins with showers. Traveling by train is an easy and comfortable way to enjoy the scenic views of Finland’s vast forests, lakes, and traditional wooden houses. You can even go all the way north to Rovaniemi, well beyond the Arctic Circle.

Within the Helsinki suburban area, tickets must be purchased (or held) before boarding trains from ticket machines at stations or on board – although for Regional and local train services only payment by credit card is accepted. Tickets cannot be purchased on ferries or on trains that are not carrying passengers.

There are several direct trains from Helsinki to Joensuu daily with a journey time of about 5 hours. There are also connections from Lappeenranta, Kouvola and Pieksamaki. Commuter trains do not require a reservation. If a service is marked as a “night train” here it will run at night only, not during the day.


Located in the north of Joensuu, Eno is the first station on a twice-daily VR passenger train from Joensuu to Nurmes. The service has been under threat of closure, but is part of a series of routes the Ministry of Transport and Communications requires VR to run in exchange for its monopoly on more attractive routes.

The town is a popular winter destination, with snow coverage on the ground for around 4-5 months from November to March. It is one of the snowiest regions in Finland. The town is also famous for its Christmas music and the local composer P. J. Hannikainen has a street, theatre and playschool named after him.

The town is served by several bus services, operated by Savonlinja Oy. The buses depart from Joensuun bus station on Railway Square. A number of different routes are available, including connections to Helsinki (several departures per day with a travel time of about five hours). The bus stops are clearly marked.


Commuter trains don’t require reservations, just show your ticket if asked. They’re marked with a single letter so they’re super easy to recognize 🙂 ‘Runs every X minutes’ times are valid on a normal weekday and aren’t accurate on nights and weekends (there’s bigger time between commuter trains).

The town of Joensuu is small and easily walkable, but you may want to consider driving if you’re visiting from a distance. Several direct trains leave daily from Helsinki via Lappeenranta and Kouvola, with connections to other cities in Finland as well as from Russia.

Joensuu is also served by a bus station with intercity connections to Helsinki and other destinations in North Karelia, operated by Matkahuolto and Onnibus. Numbered buses from Joensuu to other parts of the city are available as well.


Local train departure times are displayed on the large screens at each station. A real-time train departure map is available on the HSL Journey Planner website. Printed system timetables are no longer available.

The route map shows the locations of current operational routes and their milepost distances. The graphical working timetable is accessible through the Julia website: choose your required route section from the drop-down list, insert the date and press the green Hae button. A 7 km westward extension from Matinkyla to Kivenlahti opened in November 2017.

The Joensuu-Nurmes line is served by a number of passenger trains each day. InterCity trains have seats suitable for passengers travelling with pets, and IC and IC2 trains also have special areas for passengers with allergies. A Pendolino train runs daily to Helsinki with double-deck InterCity 2 carriages. All long-distance trains have facilities for those travelling with small children. The railway has a continental climate and winters are very cold; a typical March snow depth is above -5 degC in North Karelia.

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