“We want to replace the old stock that has come to the end of its life with modern train equipment and we are currently looking for alternatives,” says VR Group CEO, Mr Rolf Jansson. “The new equipment will improve our customer experience. We have already redesigned our equipment abundantly in recent years. Modern equipment has a significant impact on comfort.”

The fleet acquisition will be launched this year and the first new trains will enter service in 2024 with VR Group planning to fully replace the remaining fleet of 34 Sm2 trains by 2026. The Sm2s were built in 1975-1981 and refurbished in 2001-2011.

VR Group is also looking to extend the order, depending the rate of suburban ridership growth in southern Finland.

VR Group says the acquisition of the new fleet has become topical following the government’s recent decision to suspend preparations for competitive tendering of services in southern Finland.

Operators competing for tenders in the future will be expected to offer their own rolling stock as part of their bid.

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