Russian Railways OJSC and VR Group Ltd discuss bilateral cooperation
On 28-29 November 2018, Russian Railways and VR Group Ltd. (Finnish Railways) held
their annual meeting on issues concerning the direct rail link between Russia and
Finland in the Finnish capital Helsinki.
The Russian delegation was led by First Deputy Managing Director of Russian Railways
OJSC Anatoly Krasnoshchyok, while Rolf Jansson, President of VR Group, headed the
The parties discussed their joint activities in the field of passenger and freight
traffic and summarised the cooperation between the railways of Russia and Finland
According to Anatoly Krasnoshchyok, the cooperation between Russian and Finnish
railways was a good example of a constructive partnership that facilitated the development
of good-neighbourly relations and contributed to the achievement of excellent results
in the performance of both companies.
In the 10 months to the end of October 2018, the number of passengers transported
by rail between Russia and Finland exceeded 464,000, which is almost the same as last
year. The Allegro service between St. Petersburg and Helsinki carried more than 406,000
passengers, an increase of 25% compared to the same period in 2017.
The Russian Railways Holding and the VR Group continue to cooperate actively in
attracting new passengers to the train services between Russia and Finland. Both companies
pursue pricing policies aimed at reducing fares and conduct special marketing activities.
Tickets now go on sale 90 days before trains depart. In addition, Allegro trains have
undergone a major modernisation to improve passenger comfort and, as the meeting’s
participants noted, two trains are now fully modernised with work continuing on the
third one and due to be completed before the end of 2018. The last train will undergo
modernisation in summer 2019.
In addition, the Finland Station in St. Petersburg has been modernised. An additional
waiting room with 200 seats was opened in the Allegro passenger service area, as well
as a new café, and passengers benefit from a more convenient inspection system
before boarding their train.
The meeting’s participants also noted that rail freight between Russia and
Finland in 2018 increased significantly due to the implementation of joint projects
in the field of logistics, intermodal transportation and information technologies.
As a result, from January to October this year, 13.6 million tons of freight were
transported, which is 4.3% more than in the same period last year.
The parties stressed the importance of working together to develop paperless freight
transportation technologies. According to the participants at the meeting, this is
the first large-scale example of building network cooperation in electronic format
at international level, including the state regulatory bodies of both Russia and Finland.
Currently, all empty wagons between Russia and Finland are transported only under
electronic documents with an electronic signature. In 2019, Russian Railways and the
VR-Group will continue to expand the range of goods exported from Russia to Finland
under electronic documents.
The parties also noted the significant potential to develop container traffic with
China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific Region and will carry out joint marketing
work with potential customers to realise this potential.
The meeting participants positively assessed the experience of conducting joint
programmes to develop the potential of the two companies’ personnel. Such programmes
contribute to the establishment and development of active interaction between railway
experts and the strengthening of professional ties. In this regard, it was considered
expedient to continue the practice of implementing joint programmes to exchange experience,
as well as to expand them through a joint seminar for the HR departments of the two
companies in 2019.