Frequently asked questions
What does the One Hour Train mean?
“One Hour Train” refers to a high-speed rail link between Helsinki and Turku. In order to make the rail link between Helsinki and Turku faster, an entirely new direct railway line from Espoo to Salo via Lohja will be built. The link will also include the Espoo regional railway line, the Salo-Turku double-track railway line and the Turku rail yard area. Instead of the coastal railway, the One Hour Train will be operated on a new railway, which is approximately 40 kilometres shorter than the coastal railway. The One Hour Train does not only connect two large urban centres, but it also incorporates all locations along the new railway as an integral part of the Helsinki metropolitan area.
Through which cities will the new railway pass, and on which stations will it stop?
The One Hour Train will travel between Turku and Helsinki via Salo, Lohja and Espoo. Capacity will be increased by the double-track railway line, which enables local trains to be operated on the railway. Local trains will also stop on other stations along the line.
Will the operation of the current rail link (coastal railway) from Turku to Helsinki via Karjaa be continued?
There will certainly be an increasing demand for rail traffic from Hanko, Tammisaari, Karjaa, Inkoo, Siuntio and Kirkkonummi to Helsinki in the future. Once the operation of the One Hour Train begins, the operation of this traffic will continue as local trains on the current railway.
How much will the travel time between Turku and Helsinki be reduced?
In the early phases of the project, the travel time will be reduced by more than 30 minutes. Once the equipment is modernised to enable the maximum speed of the new railway (300km/h), the travel time will be reduced by nearly an hour. The goal is that the distance between the Turku and Helsinki central stations can be travelled in an hour and fifteen minutes. The distance between Kupittaa and Pasila can be travelled in an hour.
Why is the project titled One Hour Train when the actual goal is to enable travelling between Turku and Helsinki in 75 minutes?
Currently, the average travel time between Turku and Helsinki by train is 1 hour and 58 minutes. Therefore, the One Hour Train will make the travel time 43 minutes shorter. Thousands of commuters travel the distance between Turku and Helsinki every day. For them, the One Hour Train signifies an hour and 26 minutes of saved time a day, and approximately 7 hours a week, which is almost the duration of a regular working day. More than 24 hours and two weeks are saved every month and year, respectively.
What does the One Hour Train mean for labour mobility?
Finland’s labour mobility is weaker than in its competitor countries, and it is inhibiting the employment growth rate. The One Hour Train will connect the Helsinki and Turku areas with a high-speed link that has a significant impact on the everyday life of people and the business opportunities available for companies. The One Hour Train will generate a common commuting area for 1.5 million Finns by enabling commuting between Southwest Finland and Uusimaa more agilely than some commuting solutions within the Helsinki metropolitan area.
How much will the construction of the new railway cost and how will the project be financed?
In total, the One Hour Train is estimated to cost approximately €2 billion. In Finland, large infrastructural projects are commonly funded by the state. However, as the One Hour Train is a part of an EU TEN-T Core Network Corridor, the project is eligible to receive significant funding from the EU as well. This separates the One Hour Train project from several other railway projects.
Is the One Hour Train project worth the investments?
The One Hour Train will improve labour mobility by generating a common commuting area for 1.5 million Finns, which will boost the growth and attractiveness of areas along the railway. This will not only improve commuting, but it will also lower the threshold to invest in residential construction, for example. Studies show that the new link will pay for itself in 20 years. Large investments in transportation can also generate unforeseen benefits by the multiplier effects of population growth.
Why should we invest in the One Hour Train instead of the City Rail Loop or the Airport Railway?
There are several railway projects being planned and under construction in Southern Finland that are vying for the same appropriation. However, rail traffic cannot be improved by contrasting. From the perspective of Helsinki, the areas west of it have the greatest potential for structural development.
The One Hour Train will improve rail traffic in Southern Finland, as it is currently very slow and, at times, unreliable due to insufficient track capacity. It will not only connect two large urban centres, but it will also incorporate all locations along the new railway as an integral part of the Helsinki metropolitan area. It will also introduce rail traffic to new locations by opening a new connection to the Lohja region, which currently has no active rail links for passengers.
The rapid economic growth of the western area of Southern Finland is only hindered by the lack of competent employees. By the early 2020s, for example, approximately 30,000 new jobs will have been created in the Turku region. The One Hour Train will take 45 minutes off each journey between Helsinki and Turku, and even more people will be able to work in a position that suits their qualifications. Enabling the right people to fill the right positions will not only increase the employment rate, but it will also generate room for new innovations and growth. The tax revenue from the growth will benefit all Finns.
Compared to several other projects, the planning of the One Hour Train is very advanced, and a significant amount of public funds has already been allocated for it. The European TEN-T status of the connection between Helsinki and Turku enables applying for significant funding from the EU.
What are the benefits of a high-speed rail link between Turku and Helsinki?
The One Hour Train will not only connect two large urban centres, but it will also incorporate all locations along the new railway as an integral part of the Helsinki metropolitan area. It will generate a common commuting area for 1.5 million Finns in the western part of Southern Finland, which will alleviate the shortage of labour inhibiting the area’s growth. Boosting the area’s growth and rate of employment will benefit the entire country through tax revenues, for example.
The volume of traffic between Helsinki and Turku is high. For example, one in four residents of Lohja currently commute to the Helsinki metropolitan area. The One Hour Train enables travelling the distance between Turku and the Helsinki metropolitan area in the same time as many commuters travel to work within the Helsinki metropolitan area. This increases the attractiveness of daily commuting between Southwest Finland and Uusimaa significantly. The daily commuting time between these areas will be reduced significantly. For example, the time to travel from Turku to Helsinki and back will be 1.5 hours less. By boosting the well-being and productivity of people and companies, the time saved will also help the national economy grow.
The One Hour Train will also be remarkably environmentally friendly. As there currently are no high-speed rail traffic alternatives available, most people prefer the practicality and speed of cars over trains. By reducing the volume of daily commuting by car, the One Hour Train will benefit the environment substantially.
What is the status of the One Hour Train project?
The state administration has granted the project €40 million to cover the costs of planning, and the concrete plans of the project are very advanced. The most advanced part of the project is the Espoo regional railway line with a completed planning phase. A master plan for the connection between Espoo and Salo is currently being worked on. The planning of the connection between Espoo and Salo is not a common project in Finland, as it is extremely rare to plan a track between areas that have no previous railway connections. The planning is a complex process that requires very extensive expertise. It will need to account for the perspectives of nearby residents, agriculture, forestry and environmental aspects.
When will the railway be completed, and when will the new connection become available for customers?
If a decision to build the railway is made in the formation of the new Government in spring 2019, traffic operations could be commenced in the late 2020s.