Finland’s state-owned railway company VR Group has started the procurement process for acquiring a new generation of double-deck passengers cars, intended to replace those on the existing blue Express trains.

The blue cars were manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s and will soon reach the end of their service life.

The competitive public EU tendering process seeks the purchase of 46 double-deck passenger cars and an option for a further 185.

Commenting on the bidding, VR Group president and CEO Mikael Aro said: "VR Group continues its major rolling stock investments. We want to offer passengers an even better service."

According to the terms of the tender, VR Group is seeking double-deck passenger cars that are suitable for Finnish conditions and 200km/h services.

"We want to offer passengers an even better service."

Bidders participating in the process are required to have experience in manufacturing double-deck rolling stock and in cold climatic conditions.

The sleeping cars will be in compliance with the exclusivity agreement concluded between the VR Group and the ministry of transport and communications. The agreement is valid until 2024 on long-distance services.

The rolling stock acquisition will be financed through the comnpany’s normal internal financing, as well as debt financing or leasing agreements.

VR is also planning to purchase new diesel locomotives in the near future as part of an ongoing €2bn investment programme.

Image: Interior of an InterCity2 (long-distance train) double decker passenger car in Finland. Photo: courtesy of Jonik.