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High Speed Railroading in Finland

Finland is a country in the extreme north of Europe. So you would not think high speed could exist there. But this coldness also makes Finns struggle harder to achieve progress. This has also happened with the building of the high speed services. There are currently three lines adapted to high speed service and two types of EMUs and one electric locomotive capable of high speed operations. On this page we take a closer look at all of these.

There are also pages for the Electric Multiple Units, Electric Locomotives and Diesel Locomotives as well as the MOV Equipment.

Karelian Trains Allegro Pendolino Sm6 nr2 on the curve at Kerava junction in Kerava, Finland
Picture above: The Karelian Trains class Sm6 "Allegro" Pendolino is tilting slightly on the the starting curve of the Kerava - Lahti high speed line. Behind a flyover for traffic towards Helsinki, so there is no need to taking switches across the whole main line on the busy main route. Picture by Stanislav Voronin.


   High Speed Lines in Finland...

High Speed Operations
   Karelian trains, Sm6 "Allegro" Pendolinos...


   VR-Yhtymä, Sm3 Pendolinos...

   VR-Yhtymä, Sr2 "Guinea Pigs"...





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Created for 4rail.net by John McKey. Pictures by Stanislav Voronin, Hannu Peltola, Andreas Ehnberg and John McKey.

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Also in this section:
An IC2 fo VR pulled by Swiss type Sr2 has just left Pasila, Helsinki on it's way to Turku in the west

Finnish Railroads Main Page, a great place to start browsing this section.

Junakalusto Class Sm5 on test drive meets Sm4 of VR-Yhtyma in Kerava, just outside Helsinki, Finland
Finnish railroad organizations and railroad operators have their own pages, as well as the largest operator VR-Yhtyma and a newcomer to the field Junakalusto.


While much of the passenger traffic concentrates around the capital Helsinki, you might be interested in the roster pictures of VR-Yhtyma, Junakalusto and the city of Helsinki operator HKL. HKL operates the metro and narrow gauge trams

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  High Speed Lines in Finland
VR-Yhtyma class Sr2 number 3236 in Kytömaa, Kerava, Finland
VR-Yhtyma Sr2 3216 and and IC2 train in Mantsala Finland
Karelian trains Sm6 Allegro zooming past Utti, Finland

Finland has two lines adapted to high speed traffic and one that was built as a high speed line. In addition, there are longer and shorter stretches of high speed line here and there on the rail networks.

Helsinki - Tampere Line (part of north south main line)
The first line to be upgraded partly for high speed traffic was the main artery of Finnish railroading between Helsinki on the southern coast and Tampere a couple of hundred kilometers north of this. Here the current rolling stock can run 220 km/h, but often the line is so congested as a shared line for all rail traffic, that lower speeds must be used instead. As a main line this line has from 2 to 4 tracks all the way.

For the congestion the plans are to extend triple and quadraple tracks north from Kerava junction to Riihimäki. This should effectively help to the situation.


Kerava - Lahti High Speed Line
The new line built as a high speed track is the Kerava junction - Lahti highspeed line. This is a considerable shortcut on all rail travels east of Helsinki and since it is a high speed track, doubly so. All the intermediate stations have sidings so the faster traffic can easily pass the regional trains.

Tens of trains use the track daily, and there would be capacity for a considerable amount more.

For this track section no enhancements are needed for the moment.

   On above left picture the VR-Yhtyma IC2 train headed by Sr2 type electric loco has just finished dashing through the Kerava high speed track and is taking a sharp curve in Kytömaa away from the motorway it has been following most of the route. In a couple of minits it will pass the flyover and higher than normal speed switches at Kerava junction to follow the rest of the route main line to Helsinki. Picture by Stanislav Voronin.

  On left the another IC2 train is passing the NCC quarry halway through the Lahti - Kerava high speed track. On the lead is the VR-Yhtymä Sr2 "Guinea Pig" number 3216. Picture by John McKey.

 


Lahti - Luumäki High Speed Line

The latest bigger hig speed project was the upgrade of much of the eastward main line from Lahti to Luumäki, where the track diverges to two separate lines, the southern for passenger traffic towards Russia and the one eastwards to numerous industrial towns and cities in the area.

Again, the rolling stock can run its maximum speed of 220 km/h on this track. This updagre combined with benefits of the earlier new high speed track has reduced considerably the travel times to Russia and eastern / northeastern Finland.


  On left the Sm6 class "Allegro" Pendolino is making an impressive dash past Utti station in the cold Finnish weather. The flying snow in not a problem here, all trains have to endure it continuously, so the trains are built to withstand this. Picture by Peider SwissTrip.

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High Speed Operators

 Karelian Trains Class Sm6 "Allegro" Pendolinos
Karelian Trains Allegro Pendolino Sm6 nr2 on the curve at Kerava junction in Kerava, Finland
  Picture above: The Sm6 Pendolino unit 01 is rounding the curve in the Kerava junction. The unit has just arrived from the high speed track and is emerging to the main line on it's route to Helsinki depot in Ilmala. Although the trains look externally at the first look very similar to the VR-Yhtyma Sm3 Pendolinos, there are significant technical differences. Picture by Stanislav Voronin.

  Picture below: The motor car for the Allegro Pendolino is being lowered from the ship in the Vuosaari harbor. The new generation Pendolinos are built to withstand extremely snowy conditions and coldness associated with dampness. This means the Pendolinos went through as 1 year of testing before the revenue traffic started in December 2010, just ahead of the heavy travelling season for the Russians around the new year.
Picture by Stanislav Voronin.
Karelian Trains Sm6 number 01 (Allegro)

Karelian Trains Allegro Pendolino Sm6 nr1 unit onlin for the first time in Kerava, Finland
  Above the Sm6 Allegro unit 01 of the Karelian Trains seen in Kerava in the early winter weather. The streamlined roof hides much of the added technology needed to traffic the train both in Russia and Finland. This was the first ever picture published of this train online! Many thanks to picture taker Stanislav Voronin!

  Below the class Sm6 Allegro Pendolino is zooming past Utti station in the eastern Finland. Winter weather is no obstruction for high speed revenue traffic. Picture by Peider Swisstrip.
Karelian trains Sm6 Allegro zooming past Utti, Finland

Karelian Trains owned four Allegro Pendolino units replaced in December 2010 the trains "Sibelius" (owned by VR-Yhtyma) and "Repin" (owned by the RzD) between St Petersburg, Russia and Helsinki, Finland. The Allegro train set consists of seven tilting cars, out of which four at the ends are powered. There are first and second class compartments on the EMU. The other end has a little playing area with a slide for kids, as is custom for Finnish modern trains. The middle car has among others the accommodations for the border control on the moving train, something totally new between the two countries. Rebuilt track, new high speed rolling stock and other arrangement have cut the travel times dramatically. Further removing the need of visa from the passengers would bring a real boom to travelling with Allegro.

The 4 Allegro unit are currently maintained by VR-Yhtyma, which is also responsible for the maintenance 18 other Pendolino units in use in Finland.

Using the Allegro has so far lead to 100% increase in numbers of travellers between Russian and Finland, so the service can be seen as a great success. Also the trains are working extremely well for a Pendolino, so the manufacturer Alstom has quite clearly made progress on technical issues.

Technical details for class Sm6 Allegro Pendolinos
-> Type: Pendolino 2009 design (NOT the new 600 series, looks are directly from the older 400 series trains)
-> Builder: Alstom in Italy
-> Owner: Karelian Trains (a joint venture of the Russian RzD and
      Finnish VR-Yhtyma)
-> Operators: VR-Yhtyma and RzD together

-> Usage: International high speed travel
-> Production dates: 2009 - 2010
-> Numbers built: 4
-> Numbers in use: 4
-> Seen: Finland, Russia

-> Passengers: 354
- 1st class: 48
- 2nd class: 290
- cafe: 38
- wheelchair: 2

-> Energy Source: 25 kV 50Hz and 3000V DC overhead electric
-> Power output: 5500 kW (7477 Hp)
-> Transmission: electric, motor located under the cars
      power transported by cardan axle to the bogie
-> Traction motors: inner wheels powered from cardan axle
-> Tractive Effort: 226 kN at lower speeds
-> Braking effort on traction motors (dynamic braking): 4500 kW?
-> Wheel arrangement: Bo'-Bo'+Bo'-Bo'+2'2'+2'2'+2'2'+Bo'-Bo'+Bo'-Bo'
-> Wheel diameter: 980 mm as new

-> Maximum operational speed where possible: 220 km/h (137 mph)
-> Car numbering: 7151-7154 > 7251-7254 ... 7751-7754
-> UIC codes: 94 10 3890001-0, 94 10 3890002-8, ...3-6, ...4-4

-> Length: 184,8 m
-> Heigth: 4,27 m
-> Width: 3,2 m

-> Weight: 480 metric tons
-> Max axle weight: 17 metric tons

-> Notes:
  - All unit are in almost daily use
  - Karelian trains is very very pleased with the growth of the market segment


  Sm6 Allegro Theme Page...

  Pendolino High Speed Theme Page...





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  Sm3 of VR-Yhtyma "Pendo" for Long Distance High Speed

  Above: A double class Sm3 Pendolino S220 unit is seen tilting slightly in Korso, Vantaa, Finland. The Finnish version of this Pendolino 400 series looking train has 6 coaches per unit. Picture by Stanislav Voronin.

VR-Yhtyma Pendolino and IC2 train meet at Kytomaa, near Kerava junction in Kerava, Finland
  Above the red Pendolino S220 unit is taking the curve at Kytömaa, just north of Kerava junction. In the background the IC2 train is accelerating to the high speed track towards Lahti. Picture by Stanislav Voronin.

  The future is green, even for Pendolinos. Below the first green unit seen in the new color scheme hiding at Turku service facilities before officially entering the service. Even the salmon is green at the Pendolino restaurant car (for real...)! Picture by John McKey 2010.

A green Pendolino nose at Turku service facilities before the train was unveiled, Turku, Finland

The Sm3 Pendolino of VR-Yhtyma started the new era of high speed train travel in Finland. With scarce resources for building the high speed track, the tilting train solution has proved success economically and in some aspects of the system also technically. Finland also has much younger and more developed class Sm6 Allegro Pendolinos on its networks for International traffic.

There were initially strong doubts about the tilting Pendolino Sm3 operations in the harsh winter climate, but the operator has been able to solve many of the problems. The current main problems are that of the trains have more common than normal tendency to catch under floor fires (usually no danger to customers), the under floor compartments flooding with snow and ice in case of motor malfunction and braking cardan axles causing much havoc under the trains. You add the fact that due to the manufacturer initially saving money on electronics all the pulling wheels on half train sets have to be of exact same size, these all add cost to the train operation. No wonder the Swiss SBB has expressed they wish to retire their very similar fleet of similar Pendolinos earliest possible in 2014. If the VR trains could be modernized to same level as the Sm6 Allegro Pendolinos, all these problems would be solved.

In 2011 it was announced, that the class Sm3 will receive ice melting tubes to their bogies to speed up thawing while at depot. Also the couples casing at the ends will be improved chancing the looks of the trains. Hope the units will receive some of the other upgrades too to extend their life cycle from the current.


Technical details for Pendolino S220
-> Builder: Alstom in Italy (a former Fiat Ferroviaria model), assembled by
      Transtech in Finland
-> Built in: 1995 - 2006 in two batches
-> Owner and operator: VR-Yhtymä 
-> Maintenance by: VR-Yhtymä
-> Used for: Intercity / long distance high speed traffic

-> Units built: 18 sets, each consisting of 6 modules 
-> Units in use: 18 (most of the time)   
-> Maximum design speed: 220 km/h (137 mph)
-> Power: 4000 kW (8 x 500 kW) (5438 Hp)
-> Power distribution: (1A)'(A1)'+(1A)'(A1)'+2'2'+2'2'+(1A)'(A1)'+(1A)'(A1)'
-> Power to track: 156 kN (a very low figure for this power)
-> Electricity: 25 kV 50 Hz

-> Unit numbers:  7101...7601 - 7118...7618

-> Electrical systems: Asynchronous 

-> Trailers: 6, IM+CM+TTC+TT+CM+IM
    - 309 seats
- class : 1st class, xx seats, 2 + 1 seating, toilet  

-> Unit length: 158,9 m (with 6 cars)
-- End coaches: 27,65 m
-- Middle coaches: 25,9 m
-> Height: 4,1 m 
-> Width 3,2 m
-> Wind factor:  

-> Weight: 328 metric tons
-> Power to weight ratio: 12,2
-> Max. axle weight: 15,6 tons


-> Couplers: Scharfenberg at the ends
-> Nicknamed: Pendo


Easy recognition guide

  • The white base with a broad red or soon green stripe and seen inside Finnish territory gives no room for no error.  For curiosity, the salmon on restaurant car is green!
  • The other existing Pendolino has curvy stripes, silver and large blue Allegro  text on it.


  Sm3 "Pendos" Theme Page...

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  Sr2 VR-Yhtyma "Guinea Pig" for Long Distance Semi High Speed

VR-Yhtyma Sr2 number 3239 in Ilmala, Helsinki, Finland
  Above:


Technical details for Sr2 "Guinea Pig" " Marsu" "Möhkö"
-> Type: Sr2
-> Usage: medium to heavy multipurpose locomotive
-> Builders: several, originally built by SLM of Switzerland, then ABB, Adtranz,
Bombardier and Transtech
-> Production dates: 1995 - 2003
-> Numbers built: 46
-> Numbers in use: 46

-> Users: VR-Yhtyma
-> Seen: Finland, sisters in Switzerland, Sweden and Norway

-> Energy Source: 25 kV 50Hz overhead electric
-> Power output: 6100 kW (8294 Hp)
-> Traction motors: AC
-> Tractive Effort:
-> Braking effort on traction motors (dynamic braking):
-> Wheel arrangement: Bo'Bo'
-> Wheel diameter: 1100 mm

-> Maximum operational speed where possible: 210 km/h (130 mph)

-> Length: 18,7 m
-> Heigth: 4,3 m
-> Width: 3,0 m

-> Weight: 83 metric tons

Other Associated Pages
  LOK2000 Program Locos of Europe... 
  More Sr2 Pictures on the Finnish RR Gallery... 



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© 4rail.net Railroad Reference 2004 - 2012   -   Created 10.3.2012 John McKey, Updated 30.5.2012