Finland (Photo: VR/Leif Rosnell).

FINLAND: National rail operator VR announced a €700m renewal plan on October 2 which will see orders placed for around 200 diesel and electric locomotives to replace obsolete traction and expand the total fleet to handle forecast growth.

Finland’s 1524 mm gauge and extreme winters will pose a challenge to suppliers, and preliminary discussions regarding technical options have been held with potential companies including Alstom. Firm offers are expected to be submitted by the end of 2011 with deliveries to run for 10 years from 2015.