FINLAND: The government has applied for funds from the TEN-T programme for several railway projects.

The application includes €12·2m for planning and €66·8m for the construction of the Helsinki City Rail Loop. This project was approved by the Finnish Transport Agency in February 2012 as a means of relieving pressure on the terminal platforms at Helsinki’s main station. Suburban services would have been diverted into an 8 km underground loop running south from Pasila, serving stations at Töölö, Keskusta and Hakaniemi.

The estimated cost is €956m at 2020 prices, with a timescale of five years from start of work in 2016 at the earliest. The EU had pledged €5m for planning.

Disputes over funding led to the announcement on February 24 that the project is on hold, but the Prime Minister’s office subsequently issued a statement saying that €40m is reserved for planning and negotiations are ongoing with local authorities on further financing. The plans could change again after the general election, which is due to take place in May.

Finland has also applied for €3m for planning and €10·8m for construction of Helsinki rail yard, which has a budget of €61m.

Further applications cover €1·15m for planning and €8·4m for construction of an additional line in Pasila, and €30·7m for the construction of the first phase of the Pasila – Riihimäki line and the Riihimäki triangular junction. The European Commission expects to make decisions on all the applications in July.