AFTER several months of consultation, Finland’s Ministry of Transport confirmed on March 27 that it had instructed state-owned operator VR to review the viability of its unprofitable passenger services.

Some services could be suspended indefinitely, and other routes closed completely. ’We cannot continue with the present situation where subsidies are paid out of the ministry’s budget to VR to support loss-making services. The need now is to consult with VR and prepare a cost-benefit analysis that will inform our decision-making on which services should be retained or cut’, said Transport Minister Leena Luhtanen.

VR’s Director of Passenger Services Antti Jaatinen confirmed that 14 routes were ’under review’. Among services likely to be affected are VR’s long-distance overnight trains where passenger numbers continue to fall as passengers switch to low-cost airlines.