MTR Express train (Photo VR)

SWEDEN: Finnish national operator VR Group completed its acquisition of MTR Corp’s Stockholm – Göteborg open access passenger operator MTR Express on May 30.

Integration of MTRX into VR’s long-distance operations will begin immediately, with the 130 employees now part of VR’s inter-city business unit. Services will operate under the VR brand from the autumn.

The acquisition of MTR Nordic’s Swedish subsidiary had been announced in February, and completion follows regulatory approval.

MTRX launched its services in 2015 and now runs 126 trains a week using six Stadler Flirt X74 EMUs. VR says the operations are profitable, with a 30% market share on the 455 km route and revenue of SKr350m in 2022.

MTRX train (Photo VR)

The Finnish group added that the acquisition would strengthen its position in Sweden, and provide experience of a competitive long-distance market which would help it prepare for competition in its home country.

‘The market for commercial long-distance traffic in Sweden is about twice the size of Finland’s, and the modal share of rail transport of all passenger traffic is even double compared to Finland’, said VR CEO Elisa Markula.

’I believe that this acquisition enables us to achieve profitable growth in a competitive market where customer experience is a competitive advantage.

’MTRX has been awarded for the best customer experience for eight years by the Swedish Quality Index and has also been recognised for its innovativeness — we want to continue this development.

‘VR brings along its strong industry expertise and experience, and together we will develop modern digital customer service channels as well as restaurant concepts for the Swedish market.’