‘Valtteri’ heritage train ready for VR’s jubilee year
VR celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. The actual date of the anniversary is 17 March, which is when a regular train service between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna began in 1862. One of the high points in the jubilee year is the refurbishing of the heritage train ‘Valtteri’.
The train will be open for public viewing during the jubilee year at events to be held around the country. Heritage train has diesel locomotive and wooden coaches ‘Valtteri’ has fully restored wooden-bodied coaches. The train comprises a saloon car, passenger coach, combined passenger coach and coffee bar, and combined passenger coach and guard’s van.
Thanks to the Dr 13 diesel locomotive and the automatic train protection device, the heritage train can travel on all sections of the rail network. ‘Valtteri’s’ coaches represent the rolling stock in use in different decades. The oldest coach is the saloon car from the 1920s. The third class passenger coach is from the 1940s and the second class passenger coaches from the 1950s and 1970s. The diesel locomotive was built in 1965, but its colour scheme is from the 1990s. “The decision to refurbish the heritage train was taken years ago. We wanted to create a complete train in honour of the jubilee year that would contain different coaches,” says Markku Pesonen , Vice President, Technology at VR Group.
The heritage train was refurbished at the Pieksämäki workshop and the Finnish Railway Museum in Hyvinkää. “The work involved a large number of skilled professionals, including joiners and curators,” states Matti Bergström , Director of the Finnish Railway Museum. “The coaches were restored to their original state, which for many of the coaches meant going into the structures. It demanded much hard work, but the result is magnificent.”
Valtteri named after person who had it built Valtteri received its name from Walter Ahlström (1875–1931), a major Finnish industrialist. Ahlström is the only Finnish private person to have a saloon car built for their private use, in 1927. The saloon car is now part of the Valtteri train. After the death of Ahlström, his heirs sold the saloon car to the state, and it was used for official business first by the minister of transport and later by the director general of VR until the 1990s.