People boarding trains at Helsinki Central Station on 24 June 2021. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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VR has launched the procurement of eight new sleeper cars and nine auto carriers for an estimated 35–40 million euros.

The Finnish state-owned railway company is presently using both the older blue sleeper cars and newer white-and-green double-decker cars on its night trains, with the older cars used primarily during peak and holiday seasons.

Its regular night trains operate from Helsinki and Turku to Kemi, Kolari and Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland.

The procurement is to take into account the possibility that the older cars are phased out and replaced. The supplier of the new cars, which are to operate on existing routes, is to be chosen next summer.

“Domestic tourism is increasing and Lapland with its diverse sites is especially appealing to people. We have increased north-bound services significantly in recent years, and the new rolling stock will enable us to develop the service offering further,” commented Topi Simola, the head of passenger traffic at VR.

“Acquiring modern night train equipment will naturally also make travelling more comfortable.”

Simola revealed that the company is planning to develop the travel experience on night trains and promote rail travel in general as an environmentally friendly alternative for long-distance travel, with a view to increasing the share of all journeys to 10 per cent by 2030.

“The modern equipment has a key role in supporting this development,” he said.

VR and the Ministry of Transport and Communications have begun negotiations over extending their agreement over the provision of night rail services. With the rolling stock procurement a part of the long-term extension to the transport service purchase agreement between the parties, the procurement will not be confirmed until the negotiations have been completed.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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