Sunday January 29, 2023

Passenger train trips rise in 2022 but below pre-pandemic level

Published : 06 Jan 2023, 02:31

Updated : 06 Jan 2023, 02:36

  DF Report

File Photo: VR by Soile Laaksonen.

A total of 13.2 million domestic long-distance train trips were made in 2022, which is about 58% more than in 2021 but about 8% less than in 2019, said national railway operator VR in a press release on Thursday.

“Travel volumes during the Christmas season were high and even exceeded the level of the previous record year, 2019. The increase in holiday and leisure travel is reflected positively in the figures for the whole year, which is crowned by an all-time high in the number of journeys per month reached in July, a total of 1.4 million journeys. In the full-year figures, however, the number of journeys didn’t yet reach the pre-pandemic level, which is particularly due to the fact that the volume of work and business travel remained at a lower level than before,” said Chief Executive Officer of VR Elisa Markula.

In 2022, 29.7 million tonnes of goods were transported by rail, which is 20% less than in 2021.

The volume of domestic railway transport decreased by 1% and international traffic decreased by 55% year-on-year.

“We have a very exceptional year behind us. Our Eastern freight traffic has been discontinued and the reduction in transport volumes has been partially compensated for by higher domestic transport volumes. The trend in roundwood transport, in particular, has been very positive, and we have transported record volumes of roundwood in Finland during the autumn,” Markula added.

In December, the railway transport volumes decreased by 30% year-on-year and amounted to 2.3 million tonnes.

Meanwhile, the punctuality of VR long-distance traffic in December was 74.3%.

Primary delay entries were divided between track-related causes (36%), other causes (35%) and VR-related causes (29%).

The punctuality of VR commuter traffic in December was 90.0%. The reasons for delays were divided among other causes (61%), track-related causes (25%) and VR-related causes (14%).

In December, Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (Helsingin seudun liikenne – HSL) commuter trains were, on average, 71 seconds behind schedule. The reasons for delays were divided among other causes (68%), track-related causes (25%) and VR-related causes (7%).

“Delays in long-distance traffic caused by railway line faults are increasing year by year due to the poor condition of the railway network, which is subject to a high maintenance backlog. This may also have an impact on the popularity of trains as a mode of transport, and the situation should be improved quickly so that we can continue to build an even better customer experience on rails in the future as well,” Markula said.