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Alpine Railway


Contact Us! - Reference - Finland - Operators - VR-Yhtyma    

VR-Yhtyma Oy is the traditional Finnish state owned rail operator with practically 100% market share on all segments. The company had a turn over of 1,34 billion euros in the year 2008 and made small profit of 29 millions. These included the shares of the company owned trucking and bus part Pohjolan Liikenne and the international MOV part VR-Rata.
Operations areas * Rolling Stock * Future Visions     
Cart of VR-Yhtyma turnover, investments and profit
Chart1: Turnover, Investments and Profits of VR-Yhtyma in millions of Euros. Chart was created with free office software Open Office 3.2
 Operations Areas and the Company
The company operates in the following areas:
  • Ownership of rolling stock (passenger and freight) almost 100% share 
  • Operations of the long distance passenger traffic, monopoly given by Finnish state till 2020, thus 100% market share. 
  • Operations of the short distance passenger traffic: 100%, the only operator with trained staff. 
  • International Passenger Traffic: 100% market share in cooperation with RzD ("the Russian railways").
  • Freight traffic: practically 100%, due to very successfull market operations. 
  • Training of the train personnel: 100%, no other organizations exist. 
  • Stations, depots and infrastructure: 100% ownership by VR Yhtyma, including the Helsinki main station.
  • Maintenance of the Rolling Stock: ~99% market share.
  • Maintenance of the Way: >95% market share with no large scale competition existing.   
The total domination of the market seems to be the mantra of the VR-yhtyma, as with any other business. However the ownership of the critical infra and training organization effectively limits competition by any start ups.
For the road map the passenger and freight traffic sectors management will be separated during the year 2010 leading to similar situation like in neighbor Swedens state railways SJ. This can be seen wise as the requirements for these two sectors are quite different. This should also give more maneuverability for the suffering freight section. The freight has been declining in 2009 and is making loss as the exports of Russian wood to the EU members has had heavy customs on the Russian side. The aim of Russia is to process the wood with its own resources and provide work for its citizens. Finland forest industry is suffered heavily of this decision and numeroud production plants were transferred to South America and China to solve the situation. Comparing to the situation in Sweden, no plants were closed during the depression, the only difference being that from Sweden the customers can be reached directly by European standard scale rail while Finland is only connected with Russia with its 5 ft gauge.

The VR-Yhtymas management has recently been a turbulet place with constant management changes: Mikael Aro replaced Tapio Simos as the CEO in 2009. Aro will lead the company now through the fundamental changes it is inevitably facing and the first moves look very convincing in strengthening the companys position. The year 2008 was colorful, as CEO Henri Kuitunen and chairman of the board Antti Lagerroos resigned in October because they could not accept the policy of the government deciding investments of the company over its board and management. The last drop to the sea was the acquirement of 20 Transtech sleeper cars to support the train industry in Finland, a good cause but wrong methods. The management and board must have seen the upcoming severe recession in before hand and with the sleeper cars, 3 million Euros each, the whole company will loose now money as the cars will arrive at the worst possible moment. The sleeper traffic itself is unprofitable, but as a government owned company VR-Yhtyma has so far maintained this traffic.

 The Fleet
The company operates a fleet of 18 + 4 modern Pendolinos, around 150 own EMUs, a dozen DMUs, around 150 electric and a little over two hundred diesel locomotives, maybe thousand passenger and several thousand freight cars. In addition to this, VR-Yhtyma operates all international trains from Russia, both freight and passenger (from the Finnish border area). VR-Yhtyma also operates the 32 new FLIRT EMUs owned by Pääkaupunkiseudun Junakalusto making it the only operator on the national network for the time being.

A subsidiary Karelian trains will operate 4 pendolino sets together with the Russian Railways RZD. These units willl connect Helsinki with St Petersburg in 3,5 hours from the end of year 2010, still slow but a lot better than todays 6 hours. By road the distance is a mere 300 km! 
Allegro train set arriving to Helsinki Finland
 Future Visions for VR-Yhtyma 
The current management is in the tough position: As a member state of the European Union Finland would be obliged to open it's railnetworks for the competition just like it's road networks can be operated by anyone owning a license. This is against the goals of the company, which is logically trying to preserve it's monopoly. On the other hand the railroad networks are closed everywhere except to Russia (except for a few train ferries), which severely limits attractivity of the Finnish environment for the operators from ouitside the country.  


Other Interesting Pages in this Section 
  Finnish Rolling Stock Classes... 
  Finnish Heritage Rolling Stock Classes...   

  To the top of the page  

  Finnish reference main page  


Created for by John McKey. Pictures by Hannu Luukannel, Hannu Peltola, Ilkka Siissalo, Sanna Siissalo, Stanislav Voronin and John McKey.

 See also these pages! 

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

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.

Helsinki Area Railroading
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, buses and narrow gauge trams. 


You might also like to see the Finnish Rolling Stock Classes Page or the Rolling Stock Heritage Classes Page!


The Finnish Infrastructure Page gives you details on the railroad projects of past, present and the future. Finnish Railroad History Page describes the beginnings of Finnish railroading.  

Finnish location is quite challenging for the railroading, the European Union Railroading Page and the Rail Baltica Page shed light to this subject.

Russians in Finland Page brings you some of the exotic Russian models, many still dating back to the Soviet period.

Last but not least, Take a virtual tour with a Finnish heritage locomotive Vr1 / "Chicken". This story was brought to by Hannu Peltola.  
Hunting Wolfpacks
Lets hunt some Wolfpacks! This is the special story page devoted to VR-Yhtyma Sr1 Wolves.

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© Railroad Reference 2004 - 2010  -  Updated 13.5.2010  John McKey