Škoda Transtech Oy, Škoda's Finnish rail equipment subsidiary, has won a €50 million contract from the Finnish train operator VR to supply nine sleeper coaches and eight car-carrier coaches.
The new rolling stock is to meet Finland's growing demand for overnight train travel, as well as passenger expectations, and to make travelling by train at night even more popular.
They are due for delivery by the end of 2025 for use on routes with overnight services from Helsinki, Turku, and Tampere, to Oulu, Rovaniemi, Kemijärvi, and Kolari.
VR's current night train fleet comprises 80 sleeper coaches and 33 car-carrier coaches, and these will be supplemented by the new rolling stock.
Within the contract, there is an option to purchase an extra 30 sleeper coaches and 30 car-carrier coaches, which would allow VR e to increase the number of its night train services or routes in the future. They would also allow the replacement of its old blue sleeper coaches which are due for withdrawal in the early 2030s.
Škoda Transtech's Finnish factory at Otanmäki in Kajaani will build the new sleeper coaches and car-carrier coaches.
VR has a contract with Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communications to operate night traffic and funds the procurement of new rolling stock. To pay for this procurement, some of the costs are refunded to VR by the Ministry of Transport and Communications as specified in the contractual arrangements.
Elisa Markula, CEO of VR, said: “We are pleased to note that the popularity of night train travel has grown by 17 per cent, compared to 2018. With these new coaches, we want to meet the wishes of our customers and further develop the travel experience. For instance, working and having meals in your own cabin will be even more comfortable in the future.”
Juha Vierros, CEO of Škoda Transtech, said: “Our night train coaches are a good example of modern rolling stock design, helping to develop rail traffic as an attractive alternative. This deal will strengthen the order book of our Otanmäki factory and maintain the region's vitality and competitiveness.”