Tickets now for sale: In December, VR is adding hundreds of train services to different parts of Finland

Train connections will noticeably improve all over Finland when VR’s new timetable comes into effect on 11 December. Tickets for this new timetable period can be bought from today. With the strong growth in train travel, VR is carrying out on its commercial lines many of the changes requested by its customers. In addition, the decision made by the Ministry of Transport and Communications will add an additional 239 train services per week to VR’s public service obligation. The Ministry’s decision remains in force for a year, until December 2017.

VR has implemented numerous changes this year – changes which have strongly increased the popularity of train travel. VR has significantly increased the efficiency of its operations, making possible a permanent decrease in tickets prices and speeding up travel times for main routes. The implemented measures have led to an increase of 7 % over the last 12 months in the number of journeys being taken on VR’s commercial services.

The total number of journeys has seen a particularly rapid increase on the following routes: Helsinki-Seinäjoki (+25%), Helsinki-Jyväskylä (+10 %) and Helsinki-Tampere (+10%). Also, the use of total train capacity has increased to over 40% on the main routes.

- ‘It is great that we are now able to respond to the requests of many of our customers to increase the number of trains on popular routes and further increase the speed of various connections. We gave a comprehensive presentation to the Ministry of our public service obligation as a whole, and we are very pleased that they approved our proposal with very few changes,’ said Senior Vice President for VR Passenger Services Maisa Romanainen.

Changes to commercial services: to Oulu in under 5.5 hours,
additional services to Pohjanmaa, Lappeenranta, Imatra, and extra stops at Kirkkonummi, Pännäinen, Lapua and Kauhava

VR’s commercial services make up around half (44%) of all train services. In December, many of the extra service and stops requested by customers will be provided. Also, train connections to the north will become even quicker as the construction work on the Pohjanmaa track moves forward.

• Travel times between Helsinki and Oulu will decrease by 30 minutes – at its fastest the journey will take less than 5 and a half hours.
• An extra morning service between Vaasa and Seinäjoki will be added in both directions to the commuter services running 5 days a week. This new service from Vaasa to Seinäjoki will continue directly to Helsinki, arriving already at 8:33. Also, the last evening service from Seinäjoki to Vaasa will be moved two hours later (except on Fridays), with a direct connection from Helsinki (departing 20:27).
• A stop will be added at Kirkkonummi for both the morning and evening to support services to and from Turku.
• A stop at Pännäinen will be added in the morning for services to Helsinki and in the evening for services to Oulu.
• Imatra will gain an early morning connection to Helsinki as well as a return connection from Helsinki in the afternoon. Also, Lappeenranta will gain a new afternoon connection.
• The night train will in future stop at Lapua and Kauhava.
• Further timetable information

VR will also continue the connecting bus services between Vaasa and Seinäjoki and between Kirkkonummi and Karjaa, which were introduced earlier this year.

Main changes to the public service obligation in Southern Finland’s local and commuter services:

• The one-hour service interval between Lahti and Riihimäki will be reintroduced. This means an increase of 110 service per week, a doubling of service provision.
• Services will be added for the morning, evening and weekend to the Helsinki-Riihimäki (R) and Helsinki-Lahti (Z) lines. In total, 25 extra services per week.
• The Riihimäki-Hämeenlinna-Tampere commuter route will receive four additional train services, with both an extra morning service and an extra late evening service running in both directions. This will facilitate both travel for work and late evening travel. In total, 24 extra services per week.
• All these changes add up to 159 extra services per week (+17%)
• Further timetable information

Main changes to the public service obligation for long-distance services:

• The structure of services operating between Joensuu and Pieksämäki will change. In future, four public service train connections will operate along the route each day in place of the current two.
• The number of services running between Tampere and Keuruu will be increased back to 40 a week in place of the current 24.
• A morning and evening service will be added between Savonlinna and Parikkala in both directions. This will enable a morning connection from Savonlinna to Helsinki and an evening connection from Helsinki back to Savonlinna.
• Between Kuopio and Kouvola, an extra service will be added in both directions for six days of the week: a morning service from Kuopio and an evening service back from Kouvola.
• An extra service will run in the mornings from Tampere to Pori, and another extra service will run the other way in the early afternoon.
• In total, 80 extra train services per week (+32%)
• Further timetable information

Additionally, Turku’s night services and the seasonal services between Helsinki and Kolari and between Helsinki and Rovaniemi will come under the public service obligation. This means that, with the exception of the Rovaniemi-Kemijärvi purchased services, all night services to Lapland are entirely within the public service obligation. The Ministry of Transport and Communications made a decision on the content of the public service obligation which will be in force for a year, until 6 December 2017.

With the growing demand for train travel, VR’s fast long-distance rolling stock is in full use. Some of the additional services under the public service obligation will be provided with commuter service rolling stock or older rolling stock. These trains do not have all the services provided by long-distance trains, such as onboard WiFi and restaurant cars.

The new timetables will come into effect on 11 December. Tickets can already be bought through all VR ticket sales channels.

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