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Alpine Railway



Finnish Railroad Organizations
Finnish railroads were created as part of the Russian network in 1862. When Finland gained independence in 1917, the railroads were cut from that network in a sense that a border line existed between these systems thereafter. This has been the case all the way till today, with Finnish railroads developing much on their own, and mostly borrowing technical solutions from Germany and creating their own.

Because of the isolation, during the latest 100 years the operations on the national network were mainly a monopoly of the state owned operator VR-Yhtyma (earlier Valtionrautatiet). During the EU membership period the railroads too have started to open for other operators and owners as well. The organizational structural change has also taken place. But even with several plans the old operator structures change extremely slowly, if at all. When reading the following list, please remember that everything is 99% in hands of VR, except maintenance, where the monopoly has finally dissolved.

Maintenance of the Way companies

Market Leader in Operations

  • VR-Yhtymä Oy

Small & Startup Operators


  • Finrail - providing traffic flow serices for operators

Junakalusto and HRT:

  • Junakalusto rolling stock owner company
  • Helsinki Regional Transit
  • HKL (Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos)

Rolling Stock Builders:


-- Click any picture to see a larger version of it! --

/// Refurbishing continuing down from here

See also material on the older page...

R123: * 1866 *

Created for by John McKey and Andreas Ehnberg. Pictures by Stanislav Voronin, Ilkka Siissalo, Hannu Peltola, Andreas Ehnberg and John McKey.

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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Train Operators


Fennia Rail Chem3-M in speed

Fennia Rail Oy was earlier known as Proxion but since the ownership has totally changed a new name was needed too. Operating under the license of Proxion, Fennia Rail is in the process of collecting capital to acquire rolling stock and start operations.

Recently Fennia Rail announced it will be acquiring for starters three CZ Loko built Chem3-M road switcher type locomotives. These are Co'Co' type and have Caterpillar prime movers to power them. First loco will start its operations in fall 2015.

It has never been so that start up operators would have suffered from lack of customers. The inhibiting factor has always been capital and the lack of suitable rolling stock readily accepted to Finnish networks. Now Feennia Rail has raised 3,5 million euros form 34 investors and is in the search of several more. Target for the start up operator is to acquire 10% market share of the Finnish rail freight operations. This would also mean that the Chem3-M:s now acquired are just a starting point for a sizable fleet of similar locomotives.

We wish the best of luck to Fennia Rail for a quick start on revenue runs on Finnish rail network!

  Artist impression of one of the Fennia Rail Chem3-M locomotives on the move somewhere in Finland.


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  Puhoksen Veturipalvelu Oy

Puhoksen Veturipalvelu Otso 4 locomotive, Eno paper plant, Finland

Puhoksen Veturipalvelu Otso 4 locomotive, Eno paper plant, Finland

Puhoksen Veturipalvelu Oy serves wood processing industries in Northeastern Finland. Two locomotives, Otso 4 / Dr25 and Otso 3 take care of local switching duties in Puhos and Eno. Other locos might exist too, including switching robots.

  On the left Puhoksen Veturipalvelu Otso 4 is being refueled from van in Eno. Locomotive operates there in cooperation with a robot loco and national carrier VR big diesels. Pictures by John McKey and Hannu Peltola.


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  Ratarahti Oy / Imatran Veturipalvelu Oy / Kymen Veturipalvelu Oy / Rataring Oy

Ratarahti / IVP Dr45 / Move 90 in Muurame, Finland

Imatran veturipalvelu Dv15 number 2001 in Imatra, Finland

Ratarahti Oy and Imatran veturipalvelu Oy own a sizable fleet of larger older Finnish industrial switchers. These include one Move 90 and several type Dv15 road switcher type jackshaft driven diesel locomotives from early 1960s. Imatran Veturipalvelu also operates several larger Otso robot locomotives built by Saalasti / Teräspyörä. Some of these are double units to handle heavy trains.

Ratarahti Oy initially aimed to become a national private freight carrier, but could not at the time acquire enough locomotives for the need. The existing fleet is kept mostly quite busy in Imatra handling huge incoming pulpwood and woodchip trains and outgoing paper product trains. However, if the VR monopoly to crossborder traffic to Russia, which is not in accordance to European Union rules (Finland being part of the Union) can be disbanded (like has happened with Baltic countries), Ratarahti might take over the freight cars brought in by RzD and several active private Russian operators. Today these trains are leftto rail ytards next to the border where Finnish VR units take over for the next 5 kilometers of so. After this the Ratarahti units again take over the trains. This could be seen as an ineffcient method of handling trains casued by the monopoly.

  Ratarahti rare Move 90 road switcher seen powering a MOW train of operator Destia in Muurame, near Jyväskylä.
  More on the home turf Imatran Veturipalvelu class Dv15 number 2001 is coupling to Russian pulpwood train and pumping air to release its brakes. At the other end is another IVP class Dv15 doing the same as this 4000 metric ton train can not be moved with one locomotive only. Together the locomotives with about 3 others will feed the needs of a huge StoraEnso paper mill around the corner.
  One of the IVP heavy duty double Otso robot locomotives is seen parked here next to factory in Imatra. These remoted controlled low speed robots are handy when walking paper roll cars (seen in the background) through the loading points.Imatran Veturipalvelu Otso Robot locomotive, Imatra StoraEnso plant, Finland

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Maintenance of the Way

  Destia - Maintenance of the Way

Destia Railbear 300 number 90901 in Joensuu, Finland

Destia Matisa "Masa" in Imatra, Finland
Destia Ttk4 number 90501 in Ilmala, Helsinki, Finland
Destia Plasser-Theurer waiting for next asignment in Imatra, Finland

Destia Oy, currently owned by Ahlström Capital Oy, is the largest rail infrastructure maintenance company after VR Track. Until summer 2014 both were owned by Finnish state, but it was seen that this was not strategical core business for the state of Finland to be in and the stocks were sold to Ahlström capital.

Origins of Destia span to year 1799, when rapids were cleared for the needs of forest industries to float logs downstream to factories by bigger lakes and sea. In the 20th century the origins of Destia were known as TVH - Tie- ja vesirakennushallitus, being responsible for the maintenance and building of road network in Finland.

Destia has been active in track and track related infra building and maintenance since the early years of 21st century. Company has gained market share from the earlier monopoly VR on rail maintenance. Currently Destia holds about 1/3 of the total markets with VR Track holding slightly over 50%. With the new ownership it is very likely that even stronger foothold will be achieved in this area. It remains to be seen if Destia will be following in the footsteps on VR Track to maintenance business in Sweden and Estonia as well.

  One of the interesting new trolleys / railtrucks the Steelwheel of Finland built railtruck is seen preparing to move to the main line in Joensuu, Finland. These kinds of vehicles can be very handy on moving cars and machines around, often equippend with a multipurpose crane with claws. Steelwheel Railbear 330 is one of the newest breed of vehicles on 1524 mm networks of Finnish area.

  A brand new Matisa rail maintenance machine "Masa" owned by Destia seen in Imatra early summer of 2010. After numerous failures in grinding the dominant operator VR's market share the competition formed an international alliance, headed by another Finnish state owned organizations Destia. With the international alliance the market operation was successful, but the alliance since seems to have dissolved. Obviously the synergy effects were not large enough to counter the added complexities working in multicorporation multinational environment.

  One of the older ex. VR MOW equipment is seen here on the Destia truck platform. Most likely this is still easier way to move this kind of smaller machine around than using rail lines.

  One of the previous phases in development was creating cooperations with other track maintenanace companies in Western Europe. Class Ttk1 line tampering machine left below whows logos of a total of 4 companies!

  To organize operations in Finland there is usually no way to lease other rolling stock besides motive power either. Below a whole train owned and operated by Destia, except for the locomotive which is owned by Imatran Veturipalvelu Oy. Here the MOW train is seen west of Jyväskylä in the middle Finland.

Ratarahti / IVP Dr45 / Move 90 in Muurame, Finland

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  Komsor Oy - Maintenance of the Way
Komsor TTk2 Unimat 08-475/4S in Pieksämäki, Finland

Komsor Oy provides all kinds of earth mowing and building projects. The company also is quite active in track maintenance sector and has imported rolling stock for this purpose from Sweden. These include machinery for tampering the ballast and a ballast spreader.

  Here the ballast tampering machine is seen speeding towards Piekäsämäki in Middle Finland during the hot Finnish summer's day.


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  VR Track (Part of VR -Yhtymä) - Maintenance of the Way

Finland VR-Yhtyma Tka7 number 243 with snow plows installed on both ends

VR-Track Tka7 number 175 at Abisco, northern Sweden
VR Track class Tka8 locomotive in Turku, Finland

VR Track is part of the VR-Yhtymä, responsible for over 99% of Finnish rail traffic. This has lead to suspicion that VR is subsidizing its daughter and hindering competition this way. Regardless of how things really are, VR Track has been able to penetrate quite quickly international rail maintenance business in both Sweden and Estonia. For Sweden company has had 14 TKa7 multipurpose vehicles (seen on the left) regauged for normal 1435 mm gauge at Steelwheel. These can now all be found working on Swedish main lines.

  Tka7 multipurpose vehicles are seen all over Finland, and in many places in Sweden and Estonia. Here the huge plows are coupled to clear the mainline and yard tracks after the snowstorms.

  and Tka7 number 175 is one of 15 units that have been regauged to be used on Malmbana maintenance. There VR Track also has a Beilhack rotary snow plow to fight off the worst of snow and ice from the tracks.

VR-Track Tka7 number 175 at Abisco, northern Sweden

  VR Track Tka8 multipurpose vehicles are built of the locomotive frames of VR Tve4 light switcher and road switchers. The other hood of the locomotive was chopped away and crane + multipurpose claws added during rebuilding for a new purpose. Tka8 is for some reason still not used for plowing but is a common sight for just about any other duty for MOW vehicles.

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Locomotive Maintenance and Leasing

  Steelwheel - Teräspyörä Oy / Saalasti Oy

VR-Track Tka7 number 175 at Abisco, northern Sweden

Destia Railbear 300 number 90901 in Joensuu, Finland

Teräspyörä Oy (English: Steelwheel) services and refurbishes railroad rolling stock, along with some new builds in Otso Robot series and chain winches for smaller factories to use. Steelwheel also has a small hire and leaser fleet of medium sized diesel locmotives. Leasing is used once a locomotive enters service depot in Voikkaa to keep the customer operations tunning in the original location.

  Railbear classified to Destia class Tka8 is an example of a newer generation of multipurpose MOWvehicles. Here the Railbear is seen in Joensuu with a sizable MOW train in tow. One of the feight cars carries a huge rubberwheeled loader for moving ballast on the way.

  Older rolling stock maintained and when needed modified by Steelwheel include VR Track Tka7 multipurpose vehicles. 16 have so far been modified to standard gauge for use in Sweden. Others are in use in Estonia, where no gauge modification is needed. Picture by Hannu Peltola.




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Tourist and Museum Railway Operations

  Höyryveturimatkat 1009 - Tourist Railway Operation

Vintage Hr1 steam locomotive number 1009 near Kouvola, Finland

Höyryveturimatkat Hr1 number 1009 in Kouvola, Finland

Most important steam railway operator on Finnish national network is Höyryveturimatkat 1009 / Steamrail, which operates a class Hr1 heavy passenger locomotive. This is one of the VR earlier series of long distance work horses that were built during 1930s to 1950s. Finland back then was one of the poorer countries so dieselization at that time was still not possible.

 , and Hr1 number 1009 is seen at various locations around Southern Finland here. The carnical colored coaches are painted to the tastes of former British owner of the company and have nothing to do with historicall Finnish coloring, the coaches should actually be eart tone black and bright orange for postal coach. As you see, Hr1 number 1009 with its frequent tours is a favorite spotting target for photographers in Finland! All pictures by Hannu Peltola.

1009 at speed near Kouvola, Finland

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© Railroad Reference 2004 - 2015   -   Recreated 8.5.2011 John McKey, Updated 22.6.2015