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Finnish Mainline Group for strong consideration of European track gauge during upcoming Government term

The report published recently by the Ministry of Transport and Communications on the opportunities provided by the introduction of the standard European track gauge in Finland and on its related impacts is of a high quality, the Finnish Mainline Group states.

It is a first-class overview of the challenges and possibilities connected with a new and different gauge. It is also an excellent starting point for a more detailed study on the possibility to change the current track gauge in Finland.

The report is an excellent starting point for a more detailed study on the possibility to change the current track gauge in Finland.

The track gauge currently used in Finland is 1524 mm, with a standard European track gauge of 1435 mm. A proposal given by the European Commission states that Finland should take into use the standard nominal gauge. As the winner of the recent Parliamentary Elections, the National Coalition Party is currently negotiating to form a new government and consequently, also a new government programme.

The report given by the Ministry offers a thorough study of various scenarios related to both technical solutions and railway line junctions. Among the alternatives that have been studied, it has come to a conclusion that a new mainline connection alongside the current main railway line Helsinki-Oulu-Tornio can be recommended for a further study.

The Group is supportive of this conclusion and appreciates its focus on broader societal benefits, such as closer connections with the entire European transportation network and its internal markets, along with a reliable maintenance support and security. Not to forget the traditional investment costs and direct benefits.

– The accessibility and connections of Finland both to and from the west and south are increasingly essential and important, due to the Russian war of aggression. The Finnish Mainline Group strongly supports the study of opportunities offered by the European track gauge for the mainline between Finland and Sweden, but also towards the Rail Baltica – via the Tallinn tunnel. We believe that both these connections are a prerequisite for a change of the track gauge in our country, says Ms Anna-Mari Ahonen as the Chair of the Group and the Regional Mayor of Pirkanmaa (Tampere Region).

The Group thinks that Finland should continue looking into the issue of a possible transition during the upcoming Government term, with the main railway line being the object of this transition. It is also emphasized that a short time preparedness for the required planning of land use is needed.

A reminder of the importance of EU Financing has been given as to the implementation of a standard track gauge

Additionally, a reminder of the importance of EU Financing has been given as to the implementation of a standard track gauge. In its government programme goals published on 15 December 2022, the Group brought forward the need to promote a significant increase in the EU Transport Funding during the next programme period, military mobility included. Furthermore, it believes that the next Government should ensure that the Connecting Europe Facility Programme 3 supports the transition in the country.

The Finnish Mainline Group is a broad-based community furthering the development of the main railway line and its connections, focusing on a national impact and the activities related to the European TEN-T core network.

The Group consists of 11 regions, major cities and representatives of industry. Experts from the Ministry of Transport and Communications and from the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency are frequent visitors.

For more information, please contact:

Ms Anna-Mari Ahonen, Chair of the Finnish Mainline Group, Regional Mayor of Pirkanmaa (Tampere Region), phone +358 50 5720 945

Ms Hannele Räikkönen, Secretary of the Finnish Mainline Group, Director of EU liasions in Tampere and Pirkanmaa, phone +358 40 721 3446

Heini Peltonen

Senior Adviser

+358 40 568 7999

Logistics and public transport, transport system plans, transport in Helsinki Region

Key Words:

Transportation