Rail is popular for travelling to winter holidays
Peak season tickets should be booked now Many Finns take the train when they head for winter holiday destinations around Finland. Rail travel has increased from last year. Winter peak season trains are already beginning to fill up, and car places and sleeping berths are the first to be sold out. Special offers are available for long-distance rail journeys in November, if tickets are bought in advance. More than 2% more journeys were made in January–September on VR’s long-distance rail services trains than in the same period last year. Growth in August–September has been at the same pace. Popular routes in early autumn include Helsinki−Vaasa and Helsinki−Kuopio, where the number of passengers has risen in August–September by about 10 %. The number of people travelling by rail to Rovaniemi and Kemijärvi in the north of Finland has risen by more than 2 % from last autumn, and from Helsinki to Jyväskylä passenger numbers have increased by about 4 %. Senior citizens and families have been particularly active in using the train. Family travel has increased in early autumn by about 7 %. Christmas overnight trains already filling up The most popular trains in the winter peak periods start to fill up very early. Passengers should book their tickets as soon as possible to make sure they get a place on the train they wish to travel on. Many people have already booked car places and sleeping berths on the overnight trains around Finnish Independence Day (December 6) but some places are still available. The most popular dates for the outward journey at Christmas are Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 December. The car places and sleeping berths on some of the trains to the north on these dates are already completely or nearly sold out. The other trains are also starting to fill up. It is also wise to get tickets for day trains during the Christmas period in good time. It is worth asking about cancellations for all the trains, since tickets that have been booked but not paid for are put on sale again. VR is increasing the number of overnight trains between Helsinki and Rovaniemi and between Helsinki and Kolari from 17 December onwards. The extra trains will run until 9 January. An extra 7000 sleeping berths will be available on overnight trains. There will also be extra coaches on day trains. More new sleeper cars in service Passengers can already travel regularly in VR’s new, green double-decker sleeper cars between Helsinki and Rovaniemi. The double-decker sleeper cars have 19 air-conditioned double compartments and 38 berths. Two adjacent compartments on the lower deck can be joined together by opening the dividing door to form a single compartment, which is convenient for families etc. The eight compartments on the upper deck each have their own toilet and shower. From the beginning of November, all the P 273 and P 266 overnight trains between Helsinki and Rovaniemi will have four of the new sleeper cars. Towards the end of November more new coaches will be taken into service, and then all the trains will have five new sleeper cars. As from spring 2011, the P 273 and P 266 overnight trains will operate entirely with new coaches between Helsinki and Rovaniemi, after VR has taken all the 20 new sleeper cars into service. The sleeper cars departing from Turku will still be the older blue coaches. The P 265 and P 274 overnight trains from Helsinki via Rovaniemi to Kemijärvi and back are already operated entirely with double-decker sleeper cars that VR purchased in 2006. Passengers on overnight trains can obtain a 10 % discount during November if they purchase their tickets three weeks before their journey. Tickets must be purchased by 7 November, and the date of travel at the special offer price must be in the period 1−28 November. The special offer tickets can be purchased from VR Customer Service or at the ticket offices at railway stations. Passengers can also obtain a discount for rail journeys of more than 300 kilometres when they purchase their ticket from VR’s online sales outlet 10 days before they travel. The advance purchase special offer ensures a 20 % discount on a normal price ticket. Tickets must be purchased by 22 November and the journey must be taken at the latest on 2 December. Come and have a look at the winter rail travel offering at VR’s stand 6k40 at SkiExpo! Further information: Kari Lehtipuu, Director, Sales and Marketing, VR, tel. +358 307 20 635 VR Group is a versatile, environmentally friendly and responsible travel, logistics and infrastructure construction service company. VR Group provides employment for 12 000 professionals in Finland and ten European countries.