FINLAND: National operator VR Group has begun procurement of 46 double-deck coaches for 200 km/h inter-city services, with options for a further 185. These would replace the current Express coaches dating from the 1970s and 1980s which are nearing the end of their life.

Announcing the European tender on June 4, VR said bidders would be required to have experience of manufacturing double-deck coaches and rolling stock for operation in cold climates.

The tender includes sleeping cars which VR is required to procure under the terms of an agreement with the Ministry of Transport & Communications which gives it exclusive rights to operate long-distance passenger services until 2024 (RG 8.13 p11). The acquisitions will be made without state funding, instead using internal resources and debt or lease agreements if required.

The procurement forms part of a €2bn fleet investment programme. Earlier this year VR signed a contract for Siemens to supply 80 Vectron electric locomotives for €314·5m, and Transtech Oy is currently supplying 26 double-deck restaurant cars (RG 3.14 p41) and 25 driving cars to enable VR to adopt push-pull operation.

VR says it plans to purchase new diesel locomotives ‘in the near future’.

  • The Transtech Oy push-pull driving cars for VR were described in detail by Dr Rolf Paradies, Engineer, Simulation & FEA, at Prose AG, in the March 2014 issue of Railway Gazette International. Magazine subscribers can read the article in the digital archive.