TALLINN - Despite the ominous warnings from Moscow over the fate of the Bronze Soldier monument, business relations between the two countries appear to be progressing relatively unscathed as the two sides finalize deals that will re-establish air and rail travel between Tallinn and St. Petersburg.
GoRail, an international tourism operator, announced on March 21 that it would launch a daily passenger train between Tallinn and St. Petersburg on March 31, while Estonian Air last week announced tentative plans to schedule daily flights between the two cities beginning in the spring.
The announcements were warmly greeted in the tourism and business industries, as currently the only means of travel between the Estonian capital and Russia's second city is by road.
GoRail, part of the tourism-related Go Group that operates rail service between Tallinn and Moscow, said the daily train service would handle 200 passengers in both directions, or a total 400 per day. The trip will take seven hours, and tickets will cost 300 kroons (19 euros).
In addition to passenger cars, the train will have one luxury car with seats that sell for 500 kroons.
According to the preliminary schedule, the train will depart from Baltic Station at 3:25 p.m. daily, and from St. Petersburg the next morning at 7:15 a.m. Stops will be made at Tapa, Johvi and Narva in Estonia, and at Ivangorod, Kingisepp and Volosovo in Russia.
As one would expect from a service provider in Estonia, the train will offer wireless Internet access.
Meanwhile, the Economic Affairs Ministry announced that it would sit down to negotiate regular commercial flights between Tallinn and St. Petersburg with Russia's Transport Ministry on March 27.
Previously Estonian Air, the national carrier, announced that it wished to launch daily flights, including the weekend, using a 33-seat Saab 340.
Estonian Air, which is owned by the state, the SAS Group and Cresco, an Estonian investment bank, offers regular flights to 16 destinations.