Letter to the editor

Sir - Several facts need to be corrected in the news story entitled 'Finnish cut-off completed' (RG 12.05 p750).

No part of the Kerava - Lahti line has been funded by Russia, although of course Russian funding is being used for upgrading the line from the Finnish border to St Petersburg. Funding for the Kerava - Lahti project has been provided only by the Finnish government and by the European Union; the national railway operator VR has not invested anything in the project. It is interesting that the government plans to collect higher track access fees from the new line than from other routes.

RHK, the Finnish Rail Administration, is responsible for construction of the line, and we are using Lemcon, a project management consultant, to supervise the project and the various construction contracts with several different companies.

The line's two new stations for passenger traffic will be located at Haarajoki and Mäntsälä; Hakosilta will not be served.

The track gauge is the Finnish 1524mm, not the Russian 1520mm. The maximum speed on the line will be 220 km/h, although the track geometry and the bridges have been designed for 300 km/h.

The new line will be opened for traffic on September 3 2006, with an official celebration planned for September 1. This is the first new line to be built on the Finnish network since the 1970s, which will make the opening quite a remarkable event.

The report on the Lahti - Vainikkala line (RG 1.06 p7) says that we have decided to use the PPP model for the project. In reality we have decided exactly on the contrary. In our studies it became evident that the unknown risks of working on an old line which at the same time has to be kept fully operational could not be transferred to an external partner without unduly high costs. That made the conventional approach more favourable to us.

Ossi Niemimuukko
Finnish Rail Administration
Helsinki, Finland