VR train.

FINLAND: The Ministry of Transport has signed an agreement giving state railway VR a 10-year monopoly on long-distance passenger services. Local trains are covered by a separate agreement which runs for one year, as liberal­isation of this market has not been ruled out.

The contracts followed a review of the options for the introduction of competition to the passenger sector. The committee undertaking the review asked for more time to consider the possibilities for local services if a political decision is made in favour of open access or tendering.

A working group commissioned by the Prime Minister’s Office has proposed that non-core property assets of VR and the former infrastructure manager RHK should be transferred to Senaatti Kiinteistöt, the state property company operating under the Ministry of Finance.