VR Group has received a ten-year contract from Finland’s Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL) to operate commuter services in Helsinki.

The value of the contract is €36m a year, which amounts to around €400m over the ten-year contract period. The contract also includes an option to extend it by three years.

The contract will come into effect from June 2021.

The tendering process aimed to boost the quality and financial sustainability of Helsinki’s train services.

After the tendering process, the expense associated with some tasks reduced by 40% and the savings are calculated to be €275m over the ten-year period.

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By GlobalData

HSL executive director Suvi Rihtniemi said: “This is especially important for us now because of the financial distress caused by the coronavirus is set to put a heavy strain on our economy for years to come.”

The process also focused to improve train services and customer service quality.

HSL Public Transport Department director Tero Anttila added: “We succeeded in achieving the desired result: an opportunity for even better train services in the HSL area.

“At the same time, trains will be increasingly integrated with HSL’s other transport services: buses, trams and the metro.”

With the new contract with VR Group, HSL will undertake a bigger responsibility regarding the level of train services such as passenger information on trains.

The contract will also include the train services operation and rolling stock maintenance.

The rolling stock is leased from Pääkaupunkiseudun Junakalusto Oy, a rolling stock company owned by Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen.

Last month, the AFRY consortium and construction company GRK were selected to build a part of a light rail project in Helsinki.