VR Group's overall operating profit during the first quarter fell by €7.6m to €5.5m, while group earnings fell €7m to €1.3m. Overall revenues were also down to €287.3m from €316.1m the previous year, a decline of 6.4%.

Domestic long-distance journeys fell by 5.5% with journeys between Finland and Russia also suffering due to the weak Rouble and the crisis in Ukraine. Turnover for passenger services decreased by 5.6% year-on-year in the first quarter to €135.4m from €145.1m in 2014, following a ticket price cut.

Railfreight volumes similarly fell below previous levels with VR Transpoint turnover declining to €96.5m from €111.9m previously. Operating profit also fell sharply from €6.5m to €3.5m.

One piece of encouraging news was the performance of VR Track. Turnover increased by 9.1% year-on-year to €52.2m following growth in its Swedish and Finnish maintenance operations while its order book remains strong. This performance helped to reduce operating losses to €4.6m.

The forecast for the year is similarly bleak. Comparative turnover is expected to fall resulting in significantly lower year-on-year earnings with uncertainties over the prospects for growth in both freight and passenger transport sales.