Finland evaluates the possibility of switching to the European 1435 mm gauge
The Ministry of Transport and Communications of Finland has presented a report that assesses the possibilities and consequences of the transition of the national railway network from the wide gauge of 1524 mm to the European 1435 mm. The main conclusion is that the adoption of the European standard will lead rather to a negative result. Railway Supply magazine writes about this with reference to zdmira.
Studies of the prospects for the transition of Finland to the 1435 mm gauge were carried out after the European Commission proposed in 2022 to oblige European countries to build new lines as part of the Trans-European Corridor Network (TEN-T) according to the European standard. Finland continues to take the view that changes in gauge should be left to the discretion of the individual country.
According to the report submitted by the Finnish Ministry, three options for the implementation of the European Commission’s plans are submitted for consideration. First, it is proposed to build a new 1435 mm gauge line along the existing line from Helsinki to Tornio on the border with Sweden.
Secondly, the possibility of building new 1435 mm gauge lines, such as the Helsinki-Turku and Riihimäki-Tampere HSR lines, should be explored.
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Finally, the third option involves the conversion of all Finnish sections of the TEN-T network from 1524 to 1435 mm gauge, as proposed by the European Commission. However, according to the report, the implementation of such an option would entail more negative consequences than benefits. In particular, such a solution could be detrimental to freight traffic, especially for the transport of raw timber.
The report also addresses technical issues. Thus, the variants of the combined gauge (especially in electrified sections) and the change of bogies at the breakpoints of the gauge during freight traffic are recognized as technically unfeasible or inefficient.
The study of the prospects for the transition of Finland to the 1435 mm gauge will be continued. In particular, it is necessary to carry out an analysis of the effectiveness of investments and assess the possible negative impact on the environment.
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