National freight rail services were opened to competition in early 2007. Connecting railway transport between Finland and Russia was opened to competition in 2016. Services on the state-owned rail network are currently operated by three railway undertakings, the VR Group, Fenniarail Oy and Operail Finland. In addition to these three operators, licences for the provision of freight transport services have been granted to Ratarahti Oy and Aurora Rail Oy. Ratarahti primarily operates locally in the Imatra area, while Aurora Rail operates shunting services at marshalling yards in the state-owned railway network.
National passenger transport services are operated under public service contracts between the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the VR Group. VR also provides rail services under a direct contract with Helsinki's regional transport authority HSL, with a new contract for the provision of commuter train transport in the Capital Region, tendered out in spring 2020, set to begin in June this year. In accordance with the contract, VR will continue to operate commuter trains after 2021. New railway operators wishing to enter the market in parallel to the existing contracts (so-called open access) must notify the Rail Regulatory Body no later than 18 months before the commencement of the operations. Any new services must also pass an economic equilibrium test if one is requested by an authorised actor.
Finland has 5,923 km of state railway, of which 3,331 km is electrified and 2,592 km is not electrified. In 2019, 51,470,000 rail kilometres were travelled using the network. Of these, freight traffic accounted for 14,711,000 km and passenger traffic for 36,759,000 km.
Monitoring the markets
The development of the rail market is monitored annually at national and international level through various reports and questionnaires.
Commission's report to the Council and European Parliament:
On the basis of an annual questionnaire issued to Member States the European Commission publishes a report, drawn up every second year for the Council and European Parliament, on its monitoring of development in the rail market. The latest report was published in January 2021.
IRG-Rail Market Monitoring Report:
Finland is a member of IRG-Rail, the Independent Regulators' Group in Europe. IRG-Rail also monitors the rail market and publishes an annual market monitoring report.
The latest Market Monitoring Report was published in March 2020: