New rolling stock ordered to boost night train travel in Finland
The new rolling stock ordered by VR Group will meet the growing demand for night train travel in Finland as well as passenger expectations.
Night trains for VR. Credit: VR Group
VR Group (VR) – Finland’s government-owned railway company – has procured nine sleeper coaches and eight car-carrier coaches from Škoda Transtech Oy. The new rolling stock will be in use by the end of 2025, and the value of the procurement is approximately €50 million.
VR’s aim is to make night train travel even more popular and the new rolling stock will help to meet the growing demand for night train travel as well as passenger expectations.
Elisa Markula, CEO of VR, said: “We are pleased to note that the popularity of night train travel has grown by 17%, compared to 2018. With these new coaches, we want to meet the wishes of our customers and further develop the travel experience. For instance, working and having meals in your own cabin will be even more comfortable in the future.”
The new coaches will be in use by the end of 2025. They will be operated on overnight train routes, i.e., from Helsinki, Turku and Tampere to Oulu, Rovaniemi, Kemijärvi and Kolari, as part of the existing night train formations. VR’s current night train fleet consists of 80 sleeper coaches and 33 car-carrier coaches.
Škoda Transtech won the tendering for VR’s new night train wagons. The sleeper coaches and car-carrier coaches will be produced at Škoda Transtech’s factory in Otanmäki, Kajaani.
Juha Vierros, CEO of Škoda Transtech Oy, said: “Our night train coaches are a good example of modern rolling stock design, helping to develop rail traffic as an attractive alternative. This deal will strengthen the order book of our Otanmäki factory and maintain the region’s vitality and competitiveness.”
The procurement also includes an option to purchase an additional 30 sleeper coaches and 30 car-carrier coaches. These would make it possible to increase the number of night train services or routes in the future and to replace the old blue sleeper coaches, which will reach the end of their useful lives in the early 2030s.
Night train traffic is part of the contract traffic between VR and Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications. VR finances the procurement with its own funds, and the Ministry of Transport and Communications compensates VR for part of the procurement costs, as defined in the contract traffic agreement.
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