HSL will now undertake a bid evaluation process, with a particular focus on the bid quality and financial sustainability. The bids will then go before the board of HSL, which is due to meet on May 5, with the winning operator due to take over on June 27 2021.

HSL says the winning bidder is expected to improve the quality of services, while also giving HSL more control over the range of commuter rail services available in the region. The tender includes the Ring Rail Line, the Helsinki - Siuntio shore line and the Helsinki - Kerava main line.

Services are currently operated on a direct award basis by VR Group, who announced on February 5 that they are one of the bidders.

The new operator will use the same fleet, which is owned by Metropolitan Railway Equipment, a holding company jointly owned by the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen. Current HSL staff will also transfer to the new operator.