VR Transpoint tests ultra-long freight trains

Finland tests one-kilometre-long freight train

2021/04/16 at 9:13 AM

Finnish rail freight operator VR Transpoint has set a new haulage record. The company successfully tested the one-kilometre-long train with 80 wagons that can replace 92 articulated lorries. Two Vectron electric locomotives were applied to this experiment.

While many European rail freight carriers are dreaming about introducing the 740-metre-long trains, Finnish Railways moves much further. VR Transpoint, a freight subsidiary of the state-owned railway holding VR Group, has successfully tested a one-kilometre-long train earlier this week. The ultra-long train weighed 7,000 tonnes and consisted of two Vectron electric locomotives and 80 tank wagons.

Better competitiveness

VR Transpoint performed its tests on the Vainikkala – Hamina railway. It is one of the busiest lines in Finland, which runs from the Russian border to the Port of Hamina-Kotka. Introducing ultra-long freight trains is a crucial task for the state-owned operator. With their help, it intends to boost its competitiveness and reduce emissions by shifting freight from road to rail as the one-kilometre-long train could replace 92 lorries.

830-metre-long freight train in Finland
Tests of 830-metre-long freight train in Finland in March 2020, source: VR Transpoint / Juho Kuva.

Moreover, the ultra-long freight trains allow VR Transpoint to speed up the transit transport of Russian goods to the Finnish seaports. As of today, one-kilometre-long trains are common in Russia. For delivering Russian transit to the Port of Hamina-Kotka or other harbours, VR Transpoint usually splits one wagon set into two units.

“It would be considerably more efficient if we could drive the trains coming from Russia as they are to the harbour. In addition to bigger transport, this will positively impact VR Transpoint’s competitiveness, and Finnish transit traffic will also be regarded as a more competitive option,” explains Martti Koskinen, Senior Vice President at VR Transpoint.

Previous record

The previous record in terms of length and weight of freight trains was achieved by VR Transpoint last year. In late March 2020, the company performed a pilot shipment of the 830-metre-long train. It weighed 6,000 tonnes and included 66 tank wagons. The haulage was also provided by two Vectron electric locomotives. According to the company’s estimation, one 830-metre-long train can replace 79 articulated lorries. Afterwards, VR Transpoint organised several shipments of that kind.

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