In Finland, the rail transport market, encompassing both freight and passenger transport, has been opened to competition based on the open access model. New operators wishing to enter the market in parallel to the existing contracts (so-called open access) must notify the Finnish 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.
The current public service contract between the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the VR Group (VR) is valid until 31 December 2030.
There are currently three railway undertakings operating on Finland’s national rail network: VR, Fenniarail Oy and North Rail Oy. In addition to these undertakings, licences for the provision of freight transport services have been granted to Ratarahti Oy, Aurora Rail Oy and FoxRail Logistics Oy. Ratarahti primarily operates locally in the Imatra area, while Aurora Rail and FoxRail Logistics can operate shunting services at all Finnish marshalling yards.
State-owned VR is currently the only rail passenger transport operator in Finland. There is a public service contract in place between the Ministry of Transport and Communications and VR that is valid for the period of 1 February 2022–31 December 2030. The contract covers a part of Finnish passenger transport services. In addition to this, Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) has a contract for commuter rail transport services in the Helsinki region, which was tendered in spring 2020 and entered into effect in June 2021. According to the contract, VR will continue to operate commuter trains.
Rail transport in Finland is divided unevenly geographically, with the majority of passenger transport services concentrated in the Helsinki region and southern Finland. Over 90% of train journeys are made within a 300 km radius of Helsinki. This includes all commuter train journeys and a significant proportion of long-distance train journeys.
Finland has 5,918 km of state railway, of which 3,359 km is electrified and 2,559 km is not electrified. In 2021, 47,437,000 rail kilometres were travelled using the network. Of these, freight traffic accounted for 14,689,000 km and passenger traffic for 32,748,000 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 September 2023.
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 April 2023: