R's train equipment at the Ilmala depot in Helsinki on February 12, 2024. LEHTIKUVA

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In a significant disruption to Finland's rail services, VR, the Finnish state railway company, has announced the cancellation of all its long-distance passenger trains scheduled for Tuesday, February 13. This drastic measure has been taken following the detection of wheel damage on train equipment, suspected to be caused by track defects, particularly in the direction of the Savo line.

Despite the halt in long-distance services, Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) and VR's local commuter trains will operate as usual,

ensuring minimal disruption to daily commuters within the Helsinki metropolitan area. Additionally, freight services will continue, albeit at reduced speeds, to maintain the flow of goods across the country.

The issue came to light on Monday when defects were noticed in the wheels of the train fleet, prompting concerns over passenger safety. Preliminary investigations suggest that these damages may be linked to track faults along the Savo railway line. The matter is being thoroughly examined by VR in collaboration with the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (Väylävirasto), with increased inspections underway to quickly identify and address the affected areas.

Jukka P. Valjakka, Head of the Track Maintenance Department at Väylävirasto, highlighted the agency's immediate response to intensify inspections for locating the damage swiftly. The investigation efforts were, however, initially slowed down by a strike that halted train operations on Monday.

For passengers and the general public seeking real-time updates on train departures, arrivals, and platform information, Fintraffic's Train Departures service at www.junalahdot.fi provides comprehensive, up-to-date information for all stations across Finland. Additionally, VR and HSL are keeping travelers informed through their websites, offering the latest news on service changes and disruptions.

The cancellation of Tuesday's long-distance train services underscores the importance placed on passenger safety by Finnish rail authorities. With over 500,000 trains and more than 82 million passengers managed annually, Fintraffic's rail traffic control plays a crucial role in ensuring safe and smooth travel across the country. As investigations continue, passengers are advised to check the latest travel information and plan their journeys accordingly.

HT

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