The state-owned VR Group has won the competitive bidding procedure to operate Helsinki commuter rail services, Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) announced.
The 10-year contract will enter into force in June 2021, and it also includes the provision of in train fleet maintenance services, which will be performed by VR FleetCare, part of the Finnish rail company. EUR 400 million is the total value of the contract and is worth EUR 36 million per year. Following the result of the tender, the price level of the included tasks has decreased by 40% since 2015. The total savings for rail transport services is estimated at 24%, or more than EUR 275 million.
VR FleetCare will continue to be responsible for the maintenance of the Regional Transport Authority’s train fleet and the management of its lifecycle. The commuter trains travel about 7 million kilometres a year and they are used for 70 million journeys. The fleet which provides Helsinki commuter rail services consists of 18 Flirt electric multiple units manufactured by Stadler.
“We are very happy with the result of the competitive bidding and the fact that we can continue the maintenance of HSL commuter trains. The win is significant for our business and it proves our competitiveness in our own area in Europe,” Kimmo Soini, CEO of VR FleetCare, said. To meet the quality and reliability requirements for the train fleet maintenance, the company will use data and will develop a fleet maintenance programme to decrease the lifecycle costs.
The development of the train fleet’s maintenance programme and the management of the lifecycle are some of the key content for the new contract period. During 10-year contract period, VRFleetCare will cooperate with Stadler which will provide material and expert services. The two companies have experience in maintaining more than 600 Flirt trains.
During bidding process, Go-Ahead has also participated, but VR offer was better “comparing the bids in terms of both quality and price,” HSL says.
The tender was launched in 2017 which is the first rail services operation tender in Finnish history. Previously, the contract was directly awarded to VR.