The history of rail transport in Finland began on January 31, 1862, with the opening of the railway line between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna. By 1900 most of the future main lines had been constructed, including the line to St. Petersburg.By the time of the birth of the new Finnish Republic in 1917 lines connected all major cities, major ports, and reached as far as the Swedish border, and inner Finland as far north as Kontiomäki in Paltamo region, as well as eastwards into Karelia.
In the 19th century Finland had an undeveloped primarily agricultural economy, the primary exports being forestry products, both timber and furs. Much of the transportation was conducted via waterways; Finland being a country of many lakes. However connecting the waterways system to the coast was problematic.The use of a railway had already been considered in the 1840s; In 1849 Claes Alfred Stjernvall had suggested constructing a horse-drawn railway from Helsinki to Turkhauta (in the municipality of Janakkala)
At that time in its history Finland was an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire (see Grand Duchy of Finland) and subject to Russian influence, thus in 1849 Governor General Menshikov ordered the board of transportation (road and waterways) to investigate the construction of a railway connecting Helsinki and Hämeenlinna.The investigations took two years and it was decided use locomotive traction, however construction was delayed due to the Crimean war.
The project was restarted in 1856 by Tsar Alexander II's initiative.Some opposed the very idea of the railways, in the Finnish senate responses to the proposed line reflected differing views in Finland at the time towards Finlands relationship with Russia: Finnish nationalists such as Johan Vilhelm Snellman favoured the line since it would aid development in Finland, more pro-Russian figures such as Lars Gabriel von Haartman favoured the idea of a line between Helsinki and St. Petersburg.
After discussions it happened that the Helsinki to Hämeenlinna line was the first to be built. The decision to build the line finalised in 1857,the line based on a revised version of the plan made in 1851. Knut Adolf Ludvig Stjernvall was construction manager, and came under criticism for the project cost, resigning in 1861.
The line was opened in 1862. The track was 96 km long, singled tracked and expected to carry one train a day. For more frequent services passing loops could be used. After Helsinki intermediate stations were found at Pasila, Kerava, Hyvinkää and Riihimäki before reaching Hämeenlinna.
Following the opening of the first railway line in Finland further lines were built, being constructed on the relative needs of industrial growth, populations, the interests of the Russian empire also being a guiding factor. The construction of early lines was primarily state controlled and financed.
A rail link between the capitals of the grand Duchy of Finland and of Russia had been considered for some time; surveys for a railway had been made in 1857, and some time after merchants of Vyborg had proposed to pay for the construction of a link between the Russian capital and Vyborg.No real progress was made until March 1867 when Finnish Senate proposed the construction of a link, in November 1867 the Tsar Alexander II gave a decree ordering its construction, stating that the link should be from Riihimäki (a station on the Helsinki–Hämeenlinna line) to St. Petersburg, being favourable for transportation and trade as well as providing employment to many currently experiencing hardship due to the crop failure that caused the Finnish famine of 1866–68. Work began in 1868, and was completed by 1870.
Between Riihimäki and St. Petersburg the major stops were: Lahti, Kausala, Kouvola, Luumäki, Simola, Viipuri (Vyborg), Maaskola, Terijoki (Zelenogorsk), Valkeasaari (Beloostrov) and Spasskaja
The line was 371 km in length, and included some difficult terrain for railways—particularly swampy regions. A steel bridge over the Kymi and a moving bridge at Vyborg also were engineering challenges. The German firm Siemens and Haske provided the telegraph communications Iron rails were imported from Belgium, being 6.4m long and weighing 30pounds per meter. The line works were split into five sections, the first completed was the Riihimäki to Lahti section. The main opening ceremony was held in February 1870 when the St. Petersburg–Vyborg section was complete, at the famous Finlyandsky Rail Terminal; itself being built specifically for the new line. The whole line was open by September 1870.
The entire railway including parts in Russia and the Russian rail terminal were the property and responsibility of the Finnish railways,not until 1913 and the building of a bridge over the Neva was the line connected to the railways of Russia proper.
The Hanko to Hyvinkää railway was a private venture funded by which began construction in March 1872, and was opened in October 1873.The line was expected to profit from enormous amounts of freight bound for the port of Hanko, unfortunately three years earlier in 1870 the Paldiski–Tallinn–St. Petersburg line was completed in Estonia, which competed.
This first privately financed railway in Finland went bankrupt in 1875and the Finnish government bought the railway for just over 10million marks.
The line which was 153 km in length, also passed through Lohja and Karis on the way south to Hanko.
The second private railway to be built in Finland was the 33 km long Porvoo to Kerava railway (Finnish: Porvoon Keravan Rautatie). The first proposals for a line were made in 1863 with local grandees and businessmen supporting the project on the understanding that it would stimulate trade, as well as the wish not to become a backwater compared to other ports that had a rail connection. However the Finnish state gave priority to lines to Tampere and Lahti. Another attempt to gain funding was made in 1866, but this time the St. Petersburg line was given priority
In 1871 the senate of the Grand Duchy of Finland granted permission for a line to be built. The shareholders included Carl Eugen Åbergand August Eklöf as well as Fredrik Sneckenström all of whom had investments in Porvoo. By 1874 the railway was complete and carrying goods.
The railway company soon experienced financial difficulties—the amount of traffic had not lived up to estimates:by 1876 it was being offered for sale; by 1878 the original company was bankrupt; by 1887 a new owner was found; and in 1917 the company was sold to the Finnish state railways. (Passenger traffic ceased in 1981, freight around 1990, the line has since been used for heritage trains, and is used by the Porvoo museum railway. )
After connections from Helsinki to Hämeenlinna and St. Petersburg had been made connections to Finland's great cities of Turku (Swedish Åbo) and Tampere (Swedish Tammerfors) were next to get state approval. In 1874 lines were commissioned connecting Hämeenlinna to Tampere (via Toijala), and Toijala to Turku which were open by 1876,extending the existing line from Helsinki to Hämeenlinna north and west, and making Toijala railway station a major junction.
By 1883 the Tampere line had been extended over 300 km northwards via Haapamäki and Seinäjoki to Vaasa.
The 334 km Ostrobothnian line (Finnish: Pohjanmaan rata ) from Seinäjoki to Oulu via Bennäs, Kokkola and Ylivieska was open by 1886 making Seinäjoki railway station another major junction.
From Oulu railway station the line continued via Tuira to the port of Toppila (A suburb of Oulu) on a 5 km stretch of track, two other short lines were also opened: a port connection to the Kokkola suburb of Ykspihlaja (5 km) and in 1887 to Jakobstad (Finnish Pietarsaari) from Bennas.
The Raahe railway (Finnish: Raahen Rautatie km long. In 1926 the line was sold to the state railways.) was built as a private enterprise to connect the coastal town of Raahe to the Ostrobothnian line. The line to Raahe was open in 1899, and the extension to the docks of Raahe was complete by 1900. The main line ran from Lappi (now called Tuomioja ) on the ostrobothnian line (between Kokkola and Oulu) to Raahe and was 18
In 1885 274 kilometers of the Savonia line (Finnish Savon rata) was commissioned, connecting Kouvola (on the St. Petersburg line) through Tanttari, Harju, Mynttilä, Otava, Mikkeli,Pieksämäki, Suonenjoki to Kuopio with a 6.7 spur line from Suonenjoki to Isvesi, the line was open by 1889.
In 1887 the 52 km Kotka line (Finnish: Kotkan rata ) line from Kouvola to the port town of Kotka was commissioned, opening in 1890.
A short industrial line branching to the Kymintehdas factory district at the Tanttari district of Kouvala was added in 1892. km); extensions to the Savonian line were opened in 1904 from Iisalmi with an 83 km track passing through Murtomäki further north to Kajaani. and in 1923 when the line from Kajaani was extended 25 km to reach KontiomäkiThe Savonian line was completed in 1902 with the continuation of the track from Kuopio to Iisalmi (85
Thus by 1900 Kouvola railway station had become a major junction on the Finnish railway network with lines leading to St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Kotka, and to Savonia.
Between 1892 and 1895 a series of lines known collectively as the Karelian railways (Finnish: Karjalan rata) were built.
The first line completed was the 72 km Viipuri (or Vyborg) to Imatra line via Antrea (Kamennogorsk) in 1892. By 1893 an extension 139 km long from Antrea through Hiitola, Elisenvaara, Jaakkima, and Sortavala was complete. The final part of the line was from Sortavala though Matkaselkä, Värtsilä, Onkamo and Sulkuniemi to Joensuu was complete in 1894 adding another 133 km. Additionally in 1895 a short 6.75 km line from Imatra via Tainionkoski to Vuoksenniska (both suburbs of Imatra) was added.
By 1895 Pori (on the western coast) had been connected to Tampere via Peipohja (near Kokemäki). km was built to the coast at Mäntyluoto via Yyteri.By 1899 a short line from Pori of 20
The Rauman railway (Finnish: Rauman rata) was opened in 1897, with a line connecting Peipohja via Kiukainen to Rauma Later in 1914 another line was opened branching west and southward from Kuikainen to Kauttua (in the municipality of Eura).
The railway was absorbed into VR in 1950.
By 1897 Haapamäki (on Tampere–Seinäjoki line) was connected to Jyväskylä; km line northwards from Jyväskylä to Suolahti was complete by 1898.making Haapamäki railway station a junction station. Additionally a 42
In 1898 the Hamina railway (Finnish: Haminan Rautatie, Swedish: Fredrikshamns järnväg) was founded as a privately funded enterprise; a single 27.5 km line ran to Inkeroinen. The line was opened in 1899 and used two Baldwin 2-6-2T locomotives from the USA. In 1916 the line and company was absorbed into the state railways.
By 1899 a line from Karis near Helsinki to Turku was constructed roughly following the south-western coast of Finland; this linked with Helsinki by 1903 once a railway between Karis and Pasila had been constructed.The whole line is named Rantarata (Finnish) or Kustbanan (Swedish) meaning "coastal railway".
In 1900 Finland had 3,300 km of railway lines. The network continued to expand; in addition to extensions to the Savonian line and the completion of the rantarata by extension 83 km from Karjaa to Pasila, the Ostrobothnian line was extended by 1903 131 km from Tuira northwards to Tornio, which is next to the Swedish border.
In 1909 the Lapland capital Rovaniemi was connected to the rail network via Kemi, km north of Kemi. By 1911 Nurmes in eastern Finland had been connected to Joensuu via Lieksa., and by 1913 Kristinestad and Kaskinen (Kaskö) on the western coast were connected to Seinäjoki via a branch at Peräläthe junction being at Laurila 8
Between 1906 and 1914 the Karelian railway was connected to the Savonian railway by track running from Elisenvaara to Pieksämäki.
In 1913 a bridge built in Russia over the Neva river connected the Finnish rail network to the rest of the Russian network for the first time.Construction began in 1910; the bridge consisted of four tied-girder-truss-arch spans (bowstring bridge), two on either side of a lifting bridge. Originally the bridge was called the Alexander I Bridge after Alexander I of Russia, later in the 1910s it became known as the Finlyandsky Railway Bridge.
In 1917 Vladimir Ilyich Lenin made his famous journey out of exile and travelled from Helsinki to St. Petersburg arriving at the Finland Station on 16 April 1917, by July he had to flee again, returning to Helsinki this time disguised as the fireman of the train (driven by Hugo Jalava)—he only got as far as Lahti railway station by rail as the wax used in the disguise was starting to melt. In September he returned to Russia again in another disguise; this time he was more successful:As a consequence of the Russian revolution Finland was able to gain its independence in peace from Russia, and on 6 December 1917 Finland's Declaration of Independence was made.
During the Finnish Civil War the rail network was sufficiently well developed to play a significant role in the conflict;a train from Russia, the so-called "weapons train" arrived in January 1918 bringing 15,000 rifles, 30 machine guns, 76mm guns, two armoured cars and ammunition. Much of the fighting took place on or around the railways, or for control of vital railway points. Armoured trains were also used during the war, and were effective.
In 1919 a rail bridge was built across the river Torne between Tornio and Haparanda connecting by rail Finland and Sweden.
The first part of the Saint Petersburg – Hiitola railroad was completed in 1919; a 107 km line connecting Hiitola (on the Vyborg–Joensuu railroad) with Rautu. and ultimately leading southward past the Finnish-Russian border to St. Petersburg.
A line northwards from Tornio to Karunki opened in 1923; close to the Swedish border, and extending to Kaulinranta by 1928In 1924 a line from Matkaselkä (on the Vyborg–Joensuu) line to Suojärvi opened, by 1927 it had been extended to Naistenjärvi.
Various other lines expanded the network through the 1920s and 1930s including an east–west connection of 154 km between Iisalmi and Ylivieska; this connected the Ostrobothnian line on the west coast with the Savonia line in the east of the country. Another important east–west connection was made in 1930 with Oulu and Kontiomäki being joined by a 166 km railway.
Outokumpu was connected in 1928 from Joensuu, and Vuokatti to Nurmes in 1929. A line in Lapland eastward from Rovaniemi to Kemijärvi was built in 1934, this was extended further east to Salla in 1942, and Pori connected to Haapamäki by a 193 km line in 1938. The 1930s as in other countries were considered the heyday of rail transport
During the Winter War the Finnish forces again used armoured trains. Two trains were fielded, both dating to the World War I era. : abbr. from Panssarijuna) was used mostly to support the fighting in the Kollaa River area, found to be effective in supporting infantry. The opposing Soviet forces recognised this and it was repeatedly targeted by artillery and attacked from the air; as a result hiding places had to be found for the armoured train, and modifications made—such as smokestack extension pipes that directed the exhaust smoke under the train, to reduce the risk of it being spotted. More often than not bombardments and aerial attack damaged the track rather than the train directly. Ps.Juna 2 was used in both the Kollaa River battles and other battles around the Karelian Isthmus.The Armoured Train No.1 (Finnish: Ps.Juna 1
During the interim period before the Continuation War the trains were re-armed with anti-aircraft weapons to counter the constant bombing they had experienced. The Russian forces also used armoured trains, some of which were captured or destroyed.Armoured Train No.1 became a permanent exhibit at the Finnish Armour Museum (Finnish: Panssarimuseo) in Parola.
Additionally railway guns were used by both sides, the finns constructed a battery of 152 mm rail mounted artillery pieces from coastal artillery guns, the Russians had access to far larger pieces of rail mounted artillery including 12" guns, one of which became known as the "ghost gun" (Finnish: aavetykki) during its shelling of Vyborg.
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As a result of the unfavourable terms of peace of the Moscow Armistice of September 1944, the Finnish state lost large amounts of land, including parts of Karelia in southeastern Finland; in addition to the ceding of the large town of Vyborg important parts of the rail network were lost including the Saint Petersburg – Hiitola railroad and most of the Vyborg–Joensuu railroad (Karelian railroad)—as a consequence a new Karelian line had to be built.
In 1890 trams started to operate in Helsinki.
In 1912 trams started to operate in Turku(see Turku tram) (a horse tramway had operated between 1890 and 1892), and in Vyborg in 1912.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(December 2009)
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(December 2009)
The first steam locomotives in Finland were imported from the Canada Works in Birkenhead, England; six 4-4-0 tender locomotives were bought and given the class designation A1, the first into was named Ilmarinen.The first Finnish locomotive was the Finnish Steam Locomotive Class A5. It was a 4-4-0 tender locomotive built in 1874 to a similar design as the A3 class, that were imported from Dübs and Co. Scotland (A3 Class) More 4-4-0 tender locomotives (class A4) came from Baldwin locomotive works in America for the private Hanko–Hyvinkää railway between 1872-3. followed by further imported machines from G. Sigl locomotive works in Wiener Neustadt in Austria (class A6) Sigl, Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works and Hanomag
Porvoo is a city and a municipality situated on the southern coast of Finland about 35 kilometres (22 mi) east of the city border of Helsinki and approximately 50 kilometres (30 mi) of the city centre. It is one of the six medieval towns in Finland, first mentioned as a city in texts from the 14th century. Porvoo is the seat of the Swedish-speaking Diocese of Borgå of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.
VR Group, commonly known as VR, is a government-owned railway company in Finland. VR's most important function is the operation of Finland's passenger rail services with 250 long-distance and 800 commuter rail services every day. With 7,500 employees and net sales of €1.251 million in 2017, VR is one of the most significant operators in the Finnish public transport market area.
Helsinki commuter rail is the commuter rail system serving Greater Helsinki, Finland. The network is part of the HSL network, and is operated by VR, the Finnish state-owned national railway company. Together with the Helsinki Metro, buses, and trams, the network forms the heart of Helsinki's public transportation infrastructure.
The Finnish railway network consists of a total track length of 9,216 km (5,727 mi) of railways built with 1,524 mm Old Russian gauge track having electrified track length of 3,249 km (2,019 mi). Passenger trains are operated by the state-owned VR which covers track length of 7,225 km (4,489 mi). They serve all the major cities and many rural areas, though railway connections are available to fewer places than bus connections. Most passenger train services originate or terminate at Helsinki Central railway station, and a large proportion of the passenger rail network radiates out of Helsinki. VR also operates freight services. Maintenance and construction of the railway network itself is the responsibility of the Finnish Rail Administration, which is a part of the Finnish Transport Agency. The network is divided in six areal centres, that manage the use and maintenance of the routes in co-operation. Cargo yards and large stations may have their own signalling systems.
St Petersburg–Finlyandsky, is a railway station in St. Petersburg, Russia, handling transport to westerly destinations including Helsinki and Vyborg.
Tikkurila station is located in Tikkurila, the administrative centre of Vantaa in the Helsinki metropolitan area. It is located approximately 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Helsinki Central railway station and 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Helsinki Airport. The station is considered the main railway station of Vantaa, and nearly all long-distance and most commuter trains stop at Tikkurila.
The Kouvola railway station is located in the city of Kouvola in Finland.
The old Karelian railroad between Viipuri (Viborg) and Joensuu is a 1,524 mm broad gauge line that used to link Joensuu, Sortavala, Hiitola, Antrea, and Viipuri (Vyborg). Originally built in 1892-1894 by Finnish State Railways in the Grand Duchy of Finland, in the 1940s most of the railway up to Niirala was ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union in the Moscow Peace Treaty, Moscow Armistice and Paris Peace Treaty as a result of the Winter War and Continuation War. Now the track is located in Leningrad Oblast, Republic of Karelia and North Karelia. The Sortavala–Joensuu link across the border was abolished after the Continuation War, but was since restored and is currently in use for cargo traffic.
Although Finland has no dedicated high-speed rail lines, sections of its rail network are capable of running speeds of 200 km/h (120 mph). The Finnish national railway company VR operates tilting Alstom Pendolino trains. The trains reach their maximum speed of 220 km/h in regular operation on a 75.7 km (47.0 mi) route between Kerava and Lahti. This portion of track was opened in 2006. The trains can run at 200 km/h (120 mph) on a longer route between Helsinki and Seinäjoki and peak at that speed between Helsinki and Turku. The main railway line between Helsinki and Oulu has been upgraded between Seinäjoki and Oulu to allow for trains to run at speeds between 160 km/h (99 mph) and 200 km/h (120 mph). Other parts of the Finnish railway network are limited to lower speed.
Oulu–Kontiomäki railway is a railway line in Finland. The line is owned and maintained by the Finnish Rail Administration. It connects the city of Oulu to station at Kontiomäki, which is a junction of five railway lines in Paltamo municipality, approximately 26 kilometres (16 mi) north from the city of Kajaani. The line is single-tracked and electrified with a total length of 166.1 kilometres (103.2 mi). The traffic is controlled via centralized traffic control by the operator located in Oulu rail traffic control center at Oulu railway station.
The Riihimäki–Saint Petersburg railway is a 385-kilometre (239 mi) long segment of the Helsinki–Saint Petersburg connection, which is divided between Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast in Russia and the province of Southern Finland in Finland.
Electrification of Saint Petersburg Railway Division. Direct lines from Saint Petersburg Finlyandsky-Vyborg and Saint Petersburg Finlyandsky-Beloostrov through Sestroretsk continued to work with steam haulage after the Russian Revolution up to World War II.
Allegro is a high-speed train service, operating Alstom VR Class Sm6 trains, between Helsinki, Finland, and St. Petersburg, Russia. The service started on 12 December 2010. The aim is to reduce travel time between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg: before Allegro, the journey time was 5½ hours; currently it is 3 hours and 27 minutes over a journey of 407 km and there are plans to bring it down to 3 hours. The name Allegro is a musical term for a quick tempo, thereby suggesting "high speed".
The Finnish VR Class Tk3 was a 2-8-0 light freight locomotive. It was the most numerous steam locomotive class in Finland with 161 built. 100 locomotives were constructed between 1927 and 1930, with a further 61 ordered and constructed 1943–53. They were numbered 800–899, 1100–1118, and 1129–1170.
Highways in Finland, or Main roads, comprise the highest categories of roads in Finland:
The Aurora Borealis Express is an overnight express train operating between Helsinki and Kolari in Finland. The train travels via many major cities and towns in Finland, and stops at most of them. The total distance is a little under 1000 kilometers, and the journey lasts for 14 and a half hours. The service is bi-directional, with a corresponding train operating southwards over the same route.
Battle of Antrea was a Finnish Civil War battle, fought in Antrea and Jääski, Finland in 11 February – 25 April 1918 between the Finnish Whites against the Finnish Reds.
Helsinki–Riihimäki railway is a railway running between the Helsinki Central railway station and the Riihimäki railway station in Finland. It was opened in 1862 as a part of the Finland's first railway between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna. The Helsinki commuter rail system also runs by the Helsinki–Riihimäki railway.
Itärata is a proposed railway line in the planning stage to provide a more direct connection between Helsinki and Kouvola, Finland than the current route via Kerava and Lahti.