VR (Finnish railway company)

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VR (Finnish railway company)

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For other uses of the word VR, see VR (disambiguation).

VR (Valtion Rautatiet) is the only railway company in Finland, state-owned, and formerly known as Valtionrautatiet. Its most important function is the operation of freight and passenger rail services. Maintenance and construction of the railway network itself is the responsibility of the Finnish Rail Administration (Ratahallintokeskus - RHK).

Companies in the VR group also provide road freight and bus services, carry out catering activities and real estate management, and provide data, technological, and telecommunications services for the transport and logistics sectors. The group owns a bus company Pohjolan Liikenne and a road freight haulage company Transpoint.

Finnish trains are spacious, comfortable and clean. The scenery among the lines is beautiful, especially in Eastern Finland where there are very many lakes. Because in most parts of Finland density of population is low, Finland is not very well suited for railways. Commuter services are rare outside Helsinki area, but there are express train connections between most of the cities. As in France, most trains are coming or going to the capital city Helsinki. In addition there are also good ExpressBus and aeroplane connections, both of which are generally more expensive than trains. Buses are sometimes faster and/or cheaper than trains (e.g. Helsinki-Pori).

The only international rail services from Finland are to Russia. There are two trains a day to St Petersburg, called Sibelius and Repin, and one overnight train to Moscow via St Petersburg called Tolstoi.

Altogether the group of companies includes 21 companies employing a total of about 14,400 persons. The President and CEO of the VR group of companies is Henri Kuitunen.



The Finnish State Railroad Co. was founded by the Senate of Finland in 1862, when Finland was a Grand Duchy under Russia. In the coming decades the company incorporated many private Finnish railroads, such as the Hanko-Hyvink�� RR, and several others.


Travel time and speed

Travel time and speed by fastest train connections from/to Helsinki (2005).

City Travel time (hh:mm) In future (hh:mm) Average speed Train type
Haapam�ki (301 km) 3:10 2:50-2:55 95,1 km/h Pendolino and local train
H�meenlinna (108 km) 0:54 0:40-0:45 120,0 km/h Pendolino
Joensuu (508 km) 5:11 3:25-3:35 98,0 km/h InterCity
Jyv�skyl� (342 km) 3:00 2:30-2:40 114,0 km/h Pendolino
Kajaani (767 km) 7:02 5:30 109,1 km/h Pendolino and express train
Kotka (243 km) 2:45 2:00-2:10 88,4 km/h InterCity and local train
Kouvola (192 km) 1:56 1:15-1:20 99,3 km/h InterCity
Kuopio (511 km) 4:45 4:30 107,6 km/h Pendolino
Lahti (130 km) 1:21 0:44-0:50 96,3 km/h InterCity
Lappeenranta (278 km) 2:42 2:00-2:05 103,0 km/h InterCity
Mikkeli (305 km) 3:13 2:30 94,8 km/h InterCity
Moscow (Leningradski) (1117 km) 13:28 12:45-13:00 82,9 km/h Express train
Oulu (680 km) 5:44 4:20-4:30 118,6 km/h Pendolino
Pori (322 km) 3:00 2:20-2:30 107,3 km/h Pendolino and local train
Rovaniemi (900 km) 9:51 8:15-8:30 91,4 km/h InterCity
Saint Petersburg (Lado�ski) (456 km) 5:41 3:00-3:20 80,2 km/h Express train
Sein�joki (346 km) 2:42 2:30-2:35 128,1 km/h Pendolino
Tampere (187 km) 1:27 1:15-1:20 129,0 km/h Pendolino
Turku (194 km) 1:44 1:40-1:45 111,9 km/h Pendolino
Vaasa (420 km) 3:42 3:30-3:35 113,5 km/h Pendolino and local train


Pendolino is the high speed train system operated by VR. It is one of the premier high-speed trains of Europe. The Pendolino has an average speed of 160-200 km/h, and its highest speed record was 248 km/h. The reason why the Pendolino was chosen in the beginning of 1990s is due to the fact that the country has curved railways and this is the cheapest method to build a high speed train, which runs on existing network. A tilting train provided the advantages of high speed and comfort for the passengers, as tilting trains are made for curved railways.

Unlike the TGV, Thalys and other European high-speed trains, the Pendolino, due to its tilting mechanism, does not run on specialised high-speed lines - it runs on existing lines. This has both beneficial and negative consequences. Firstly, the trains cannot run to as high a speed as the TGV, for example, due to the lines. However, the Pendolino can also run alongside 'standard' trains, allowing for greater use of the railway. Also, building high-speed lines costs a lot more, which makes them uneconomical due to Finland's low population and long distances. Despite its relatively low speeds for a high-speed network, the Pendolino has been successful due to the fact that it connects many Finnish cities and towns, similar to the TGV, which spans a large number of major cities in France.

The Pendolino is a premium facility train. There are audio sockets for radio and music channels, as well as headphones. In some seats, there are also electricity sockets for laptop and mobile phones. There is a bistro on board that serves snack bar-style dishes. In Business Plus Class (1st class), there is personal service and a complimentary meal, similar to aeroplane service.


Pendolino Routes

The Pendolino network radiates out from Helsinki. The following other destinations are served:


Commuter traffic in Helsinki area

VR runs commuter traffic in Helsinki Metropolitan Area. See VR l�hiliikenne.


See also


External links

fi:VR sv:VR

Related articles

Image:Wikipedia-small.png Wikipedia article about VR (Finnish railway company) (search). This article uses material from that article.

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