GoRail, the Estonian-owned operator of passenger train service between Tallinn-Moscow and Tallinn-St Petersburg, announced today that it has suspended the trips.
The last train on Tallinn-St. Petersburg route will depart from Tallinn on May 10, and from St. Petersburg on May 11, 2015.
The date of departure of the last train of Tallinn-Moscow route depends on preparedness of AS Eesti Raudtee, the national railway company of Estonia, to continue with passenger service on this route.
According to the manager of GoRail, Alar Pinsel, the reason for closure of the routes is significant decrease in number of tourists traveling from Russia to Estonia. "Being a private company that uses its own assets, GoRail cannot operate the routes based solely on ticket revenue," he said in a statement.
“A difficult economic and political situation in relations between Russia and the European Union has significantly affected the number of Russian tourists visiting Estonia. Drop in the exchange rate of rouble also makes travel expensive for Russian people. Without a doubt, the train connection is useful for Estonia as a whole, however the routes were only generating financial loss for quite a long time,” he said, adding that hopefully AS Eesti Raudtee will find opportunities to continue with the passenger service on Tallinn-Moscow route.
Pinsel also expressed hope that the situation will stabilize and the number of passengers will recover, in which case the company is prepared to launch Tallinn-St. Petersburg route again.
Go Rail has been organising international train passenger transport on the Tallinn-Moscow and Tallinn-St Petersburg routes since 1998. Up until 2013, the number of Russian tourists visiting Estonia grew steadily each year, with over 260,000 in 2012 alone. Since the crisis in Ukraine and Russia's economic woes, the number has been in steady decline.
Editor: S. Tambur