Main events during the year
VR-Group completed the competitive bidding for the largest rolling stock procurement in its history in December. VR is purchasing 80 new electric locomotives to gradually replace the first electric locomotives, which were built in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. The agreement with Siemens was finalised in early 2014. The first batch of ten locomotives will arrive in Finland in 2017. Serial production will start in 2018. The purchase includes an option for a further 97 locomotives.
The locomotive procurement is part of a major investment in rolling stock. VR Group has acquired and is acquiring more double-deck passenger cars that are suitable for high speed services. In the near future VR Group will also start the procurement of new diesel locomotives.
In Finland railway logistics increased its tonne per kilometre performance to achieve a market share of 26.5 per cent. This is very high by European standards. The positive trend in rail logistics also continued. Higher train filling rates made it possible to reduce train kilometres even though at the same time the transportation performance measured in tonnes to kilometres increased. The number of shunting hours declined during the year. This was due to more precise transport planning in conjunction with the development of working methods and the broader introduction of work-enhancing technologies.
The most significant investments for passenger services in 2013 were in new rolling stock. In April, the new power cars were launched, and they entered commercial service in August. At the end of 2013, 12 power cars were in use. With the power cars, trains can be reversed without the need to move the locomotive to the other end of the train. This will help traffic in particular in Helsinki and Tampere, which have congested rail yards. VR has also ordered a total of 26 new DuettoPlus restaurant cars.
Long-distance punctuality deteriorated in 2013. Punctuality was significantly affected by the track work that continued for most of the year and the resulting temporary speed restrictions, as well as by worse frost conditions in the spring than in the previous year. The punctuality for long-distance services in 2013 was 84.7% (86.2%) and for commuter services 95.8% (93.6%). Logistics had a punctuality rate of 91.0% (91.5%).
VR Track increased its net turnover and improved its profitability significantly in 2013. VR Track's engineering business had a full order book throughout the year. The most important projects included the construction design for the Lielahti-Kokemäki alliance project, construction design for the Kokkola-Riippa and Eskola-Ylivieska double-tracking projects, and the track maintenance register and service agreement for 2013-2014 concluded with the Finnish Transport Agency.
In the field of construction, work started on a number of new projects in the early summer, such as the superstructure work on the Ring Rail Line in Havukoski, superstructure work between Ylivieska and Kilpua, and the alterations at the Vihanti traffic operating point. Work also continued during 2013 on projects started previously. These included the renovation of the Lielahti-Kokemäki section and the double tracking of the section between Kokkola and Riippa.