Finland’s high speed train goes into design phase

The documents for starting the design for the long-awaited ‘One Hour Train’ project in Finland have been signed. One Hour Train is a high-speed rail link between Turku and Helsinki in the Southwest of Finland. As the name suggests, the journey between the two cities will take on hour instead of the current two. Train operations are set to begin in early 2030.

Finland has commitments to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. The Turku One Hour Train company believes this route to be one of Finland’s most significant climate routes providing an ecological connection between Helsinki and Turku, “I think this railway project is important and it is great to be involved in building the preconditions for a long time into the future,” says Minna Forström, chair of the board of Turku One Hour Train Ltd. “The Turku One Hour Train is a large-scale project that will genuinely benefit the climate and lay the foundation for wellbeing in Finland.”

Turku One Hour Train

Currently, Finland’s 195.8 kilometres long Rantarata railway connects Helsinki and Turku. This track follows the southern coast and takes approximately two hours. The first proposal to have a faster and direct link between the two cities took place in 1979. The Turku One hour train also known as the ELSA-rate is a new proposal to provide a more direct connection between Helsinki and Turku, Finland.

The Finnish Coastal Railway Rantarata currently in use

The plans that are being set is the construction of a 95-kilometre double track between Espoo and Salo with trains running speeds of 300 kilometres per hour. This cuts the journey time to one hour rather than two. In July 2020, the EU’s Connection Europe Facility approved an investment of 37.5 million euros for the Helsinki–Turku high-speed rail project. This approval was done to allow the railway to be an integral part of the Trans-European Transport Network’s Helsinki–Valletta Corridor.

According to the Turku One Hour Train company, commuters can take the train daily which saves them up to two weeks of travel time a year. The company believes an extra 1,6 million passengers will be expected annually, due to travel time reduction and the new stations that will be built. The capacity on the existing Rantarata railway line will also be freed. Additionally, the One Hour train will increase sustainability providing new jobs, local transport connections and future projects connected to rail.

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Author: Sarah Chebaro

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