Helsinki Airport rail link would serve the whole nation
Mayors Vapaavuori and Lyly, CEOs Vauramo and Jansson: Helsinki Airport rail link is a crucial investment for the whole nation’s transport system
Benefits of Helsinki Airport rail link
- Provides growth opportunities for the entire Finland through Helsinki’s international airport
- Creates a fast and direct link between Helsinki Airport, Hämeenlinna and Tampere in the Finnish growth corridor
- Enables a 15-minute travel time from the airport via Pasila to the Helsinki city centre
- Boosts the appeal of the main areas served and accelerates their development
- Frees rail capacity on the main rail line between Kerava and Pasila
- Connects Finland’s transport system with transport connections to Tallinn and with Central Europe via Rail Baltica
- Improves the international competitiveness of Finnish urban regions from the perspectives of commuting and travel and tourism
- The area impacted by the third rail line running from the Helsinki Airport rail link and Finland’s growth corridor is home to 2 million people and provides about 1 jobs (2018)
Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori, Tampere Mayor Lauri Lyly, CEO Pekka Vauramo of Finland’s largest airline Finnair, and CEO Rolf Jansson of the Finnish railway company VR Group state that the construction of the Helsinki Airport rail link is the most important one of Finland’s proposed transport investments of the near future. Together, they represent Finland’s two main urban regions and main corporations in the transport sector.
According to Vapaavuori, Lyly, Vauramo and Jansson, it is crucial that the Helsinki Airport rail link, which would enable an express connection without transfers from elsewhere in Finland and a fast connection from Helsinki to the airport, should be advanced urgently. At present, the Helsinki Airport rail link is not yet included in national or European transport investment plans, although various studies have been conducted on the project.
“The Helsinki Airport rail link plays a bigger strategic role in the future functionality of our entire transport system. The project would have a significant positive impact on the growth of the whole nation,” Mayor Vapaavuori says.
The Helsinki Airport rail link would provide growth opportunities for other parts of Finland through Helsinki and Helsinki Airport. It would particularly improve international connections to the centres of growth in Southern Finland.
“This project benefits the entire Finland. We need a third rail line from Tampere via Helsinki Airport to Helsinki to support the main rail line. The main rail line must operate well, in terms of the appeal of the whole country, to serve travel and tourism, and to promote the development of commuting, industry and export,” Mayor Lyly points out.
The Helsinki Airport rail link would provide an express connection, saving 15–20 minutes in travel time, from the main rail line and the Kerava–Lahti line to the airport – that is, from nearly all of Finland. The Helsinki Airport rail link would also be connected to the proposed Tallinn tunnel and thereby to the European transport network. The Helsinki Airport rail link would serve an important role, even in the event that the Tallinn tunnel would not be constructed and connections to Tallinn would rely on ferries. Furthermore, the Helsinki Airport rail link would free capacity on the main rail line, reduce the vulnerability of the transport system to disruptions, enable the further development of long- and short-distance service, and improve the connections of Finnish regions as well as the Helsinki region to national and international air transport.
The mayors emphasize that the Helsinki Airport rail link would enable Finland in the next few decades to bring the main urban hubs of Southern Finland – Helsinki, Tampere and Turku – within an hour from each other.
Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo states that air traffic to Finland is increasing rapidly. According to current estimates, Helsinki Airport will bring 30 million passengers to Finland in the next few years.
“We should set the target ambitiously at 40 million air passengers. We can accelerate growth, if we systematically develop our infrastructure into the right direction. Finland is going through a boom in travel and tourism, and we have an opportunity to make Finland a major tourism destination. The Helsinki Airport rail link, providing a fast link from the Helsinki city centre to the airport and further to elsewhere in Finland, is crucial for the growing transport volumes. Passengers expect fast connections and smooth interaction between transport modes,” Vauramo says.
VR Group maintains that today the main artery of the Finnish rail network, that is, the main rail line and especially the Helsinki–Tampere section of it, is at full capacity and cannot accommodate more trains during peak periods. VR’s passenger volume on the Helsinki–Tampere route increased by 21 percent in 2016–2017 from the 2015 level.
VR CEO Rolf Jansson envisions, “The new direct rail line of the Helsinki Airport rail link, running from Helsinki via the airport to Kerava, would remove the current bottleneck and allow more trains to the north and east. It is of key importance to increase train capacity between Helsinki and Tampere, which is our busiest route with the most demand. Passengers would benefit from the rail link in many ways: long-distance trains would stop at the airport. This would provide a fast and convenient connection between Helsinki Airport and the rest of Finland. Helsinki Airport would obtain well-working connections between flights, trains and buses.”
“In addition to the Helsinki Airport rail link, we must also invest in improvements in the congested Helsinki Railway Station rail yard and increase the capacity on the Helsinki–Pasila route,” Jansson continues. “The proposed City Rail Loop would provide one solution to the problems and give more space and opportunities for growing rail transport volumes.”
Image: The Helsinki Airport rail link would be part of the Finnish growth corridor, linking Helsinki and Helsinki Airport with the cities of Turku, Tampere, St Petersburg and Tallinn, and further with Central Europe, Asia and North America.
Legend from top to bottom: hubs; travel time between hubs by train or ferry; strategic growth corridors; international flight connections; Helsinki Airport rail link; third rail line; high-speed rail connection to Turku and St Petersburg; Helsinki–Tallinn ferry connection/tunnel; Rail Baltica
* The estimate of travel time to St Petersburg is based on a high-speed train.
** Based on a travel time estimate of 1 hour 10 minutes between Helsinki and Tampere.
According to the Finnish Transport Agency’s survey on the development of rail transport in Southern Finland (ESSI survey), completed in 2017, the Helsinki Airport rail link would be a rail connection between Kytömaa in Kerava and Pasila, running mostly underground and serving long-distance trains. The rail link would pass through the Helsinki Airport terminal. There would be connections to the Helsinki Airport rail link both from the main rail line and from the Kerava–Lahti line, so the Helsinki Airport rail link would provide express connections without transfers from other regions of Finland to the airport. The Helsinki Airport rail link would remove the worst bottlenecks of the main rail line and allow further growth in rail transport volumes.