VR to acquire new rolling stock for domestic long-distance traffic

Strong growth continues in domestic rail travel. VR will buy new rolling stock for long-distance traffic from Transtech with the aim of responding to the increasing demand and improving availability and travel comfort on the most popular departures.

Domestic rail travel started to grow clearly in spring 2016 after prices were reduced and the routes were made faster. This year, the number of journeys has already increased by almost 10 per cent and more than 20 per cent on many of the main routes. The load factor is already more than 40 per cent, and well over 70 per cent on the most popular services. The increase in demand has also led to growth in net sales and performance in passenger services.

VR responds to the continuous increase in demand by ordering 20 new double-deck cars for Intercity trains from Transtech’s rail vehicle factory in Kajaani. The order placed by VR is worth over EUR 50 million. One car has 113 seats, so the acquisition will provide trains with almost 2,300 additional seats. The new cars will enter service during 2019 and will be directed specifically to the most popular long-distance services.

- We make growth in rail traffic possible also in the future by investing significantly in additional capacity. The current rail infrastructure does not make it possible to increase the number of services during peak hours, but we can still increase the capacity of the existing trains, says Maisa Romanainen, Senior Vice President of Passenger Services.

The acquisition continues VR’s renewal programme for long-distance traffic, which started in 1997 and has seen a total investment of about EUR 640 million in double-deck rolling stock. A total of 1,700 additional seats were last obtained in rail traffic this summer with the introduction of the IC steering cars. It is now possible to operate commercial routes at the speed on 200km/h when the condition of the rail network allows it. Uniform rolling stock can be used efficiently in the entire rail network.

In addition to this order, to increase passenger comfort, VR is currently carrying out renewal of the interiors and the concepts of restaurant and Extra Class cars. A total of 219 IC cars and 17 Pendolinos operating 159 daily services are used in the fast domestic long-distance traffic.

- VR’s rolling stock order has a considerable effect on employment in our factory, says Lasse Orre, Managing Director of Transtech Oy.

The employment effect of the acquisition is about 150 man-years. The production of the new cars will begin during next year.

- We are pleased about the reception our cars have had. Passengers have given good feedback, for example, on their accessibility.

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