Front Page: Tieto Traficom
Front Page: Tieto Traficom

Future prospects and challenges of railways

This situational picture provides information about the future prospects and challenges of Finnish railways. The situational picture is primarily updated twice a year. The information is produced by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. The information is part of the strategic situational picture of the Finnish transport network.

It is important to keep working on the railway network maintenance backlog in the future. In addition to this, climate change will increase extreme weather phenomena and change weather conditions, meaning that track management must adjust to climate change. Safety at level crossings must be improved even after 2030. Digitalisation and automation will be promoted through the Digirail project, which will continue throughout the 2030s. 

The safety and reliability of the rail network are the most important starting points for the work. Reliability covers reliability in normal and exceptional situations. It is also about general reliability and national security of supply.  

The multi-operator environment is developing and the railway network must offer equal opportunities within the environment. Goods transport has been open to competition for a long time now, and the number of operators has expanded. 

The objectives and challenges lie in how the attractiveness of train traffic is added as a sustainable mode of travel and transport. Examining how to be able to offer more punctual and faster railway connections between regional centres serves as an example of increasing the attractiveness of passenger traffic. Ensuring capacity in areas with a growing demand but insufficient capacity is a central challenge. 

Meeting the various needs of trade and industry transports is connected to industry investments, volumes of transport flow and any changes to direction as well as the needs of the network of timber loading and unloading places (land use development also generates needs).  The development of transit transport and other international traffic (including connections inland and at border crossings) are key viewpoints concerning goods transport.  

Regions want transverse connections to be developed with regard to rails with low traffic volumes and rails closed to traffic. There are local objectives concerning the development of commuter rail traffic or regional train services around Finland. 

Numerous traffic operating points have needs to develop these to better meet the passengers’ and transports’ needs, with regard to the functionality of travel and transport chains. There are station area development projects under way in many municipalities, and they are connected to and have influence on rails and train depots more often than not.

Track management and railway transport must take environmental impact and the effects of the rail to its surroundings, such as noise and vibration, into account. Changes to legislation may also cause considerable changes to route maintenance. These include changes to legislation on transportation of dangerous goods (VAK, vaarallisten aineiden kuljetus) and any significant changes to train depot requirements and any stricter provisions in environmental legislation.