Passenger rail transport opens to competition
Passenger rail transport opens to competition in Finland. The reform aims to increase the competitiveness of railway transport and the volume and share of rail services in the future.
The reform will take place in stages and the opening to competition will start with regional transport in Southern Finland.
The opening of passenger rail transport to competition proceeds with corporate reorganisation
The Government’s Ministerial Committee on Economic Policy made the decision regarding the opening of passenger rail transport to competition on 10 April 2017. In practise, opening the competition means that VR’s exclusive right to the provision of rail transport services in the Finnish rail network will be withdrawn over the next decade, allowing other operators to enter the Finnish passenger rail transport market.
The opening to competition of passenger rail transport requires an equal and competition-neutral environment in the railway market so that all rail transport services are available to operators on equal terms.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications is now commencing the first round of competition by tendering the Southern Finland regional rail services.
Industry Arrangements – Rolling Stock, Real Estate and Vehicle Maintenance
A rolling stock company and a real estate company will be established as special assignment companies. The state ownership and oversight of these companies will be the responsibility of the Ministry and th objective is to have both companies fully operational by 31 December 2018.
A the first stage, all Sm2 and Sm4 trains operating the regional rail services in Southern Finland will be transferred to the rolling stock company. In addition, the rolling stock company will start the procurement process for new rolling stock to be used on regional rail services in Southern Finland. The intention is that eventually the rolling stock company will provide services also for other tendered regions throughout the country.
The property necessary for the regional rail services in Southern Finland will be transferred from VR to the real estate company: the buildings owned by VR in the Helsinki depot area and the fixed equipment within the buildings, as well as the station buildings owned by the VR Group within the traffic area of the regional rail services in Southern Finland.
VR will corporatize the maintenance operations supporting its entire rolling stock fleet into a separate maintenance company within the VR Group. The required maintenance staff will be transferred into the maintenance company, along with the spare parts, machines and equipment needed for the maintenance of vehicles. VR shall develop the maintenance company operationally and commercially into an independent company and relinquish the ownership of the company on market terms prior to starting the traffic services under tendering.
VR will disclose to the Ministry of Transport and Communications all the necessary information for organising the tendering process, such as information related to the volume, rolling stock and staff of the railroad traffic services. The Ministry will provide all the relevant information to bidders as part of the tendering process.
The objective is to complete the tendering process and commence operations in June 2022. A more detailed tendering schedule showing the steps to reach this objective will be published by the Ministry towards the end of 2018.
EU works towards open market access
Under the EU’s fourth railway package, Member States must ensure open market access across the EU as of 3 December 2019. In most EU Member States, national passenger rail transport has been opened to competition.
Information event 4.10.2017
- Information event on competitive tendering of the regional train services in Southern Finland 4.10.2017 klo 9.15-12 (YouTube)
- Ministry - Proposal for a tendering model for Southern Finland regional rail services
- Ministry - Current arrangements and implementation of the railway reform
- Minister Anne Berner - General policy overview and the railway reform
- Finnish Transport Safety Agency - Railway safety autohority and its functions
- Finnish Transport Agency - Railway network and its management
- Ministry - Overview of the ministry and its administrative branch
Opening passenger rail transport to competition in Finland. Proposal for a tendering model for Southern Finland regional rail services. Report 10/2017.
Finland-Helsinki: Public transport services by railways. Prior information notice for public service contract (TED - Supplement to the Official Journal of the EU)
- Factsheet 73-2017 Opening passenger rail transport to competition Faktalehti09.08.2017
- Factsheet 74-2017 Opening passenger rail transport to competition in other countries Faktalehti09.08.2017
- Factsheet 77-2017 Organising passenger rail transport Faktalehti17.08.2017