Main events during the fiscal period
VR Group continued to make its operations more efficient in order to achieve its profitability and cash flow targets. Achieving the targets is necessary so that we can carry out our rolling stock investments in an increasingly competitive environment. As part of the effectivisation, commuter services were made into a separate unit within the passenger services and co-determination negotiations were started, with the aim of closing down the Turku depot during 2015.
In terms of tonne kilometres, rail logistics increased its market share to 28.2 per cent in 2013. The growth continued in 2014, when a growth rate of approximately 1.5 per cent was achieved. Compared with other European operators, the market share is quite high.
There were further improvements in the operational efficiency of rail logistics. Increases in average train weight, achieved through cooperation with customers, led to a reduction in total train kilometres even though at the same time, VR was able to improve its performance, when measured in tonne kilometres. This positive trend, which has continued since 2012, is a result of more detailed transport planning, better working methods and more extensive introduction of technologies making the work more effective. The logistics division achieved substantial progress in both occupational and train safety. Accident frequency rate dropped to 14.7 (28.9) per million hours worked and there was also a substantial decrease in shunting deviation frequency, from 78.3 to 51.2.
Commuter services was made into a separate unit within the passenger services division. The separation has resulted in operational improvements and higher efficiency, while at the same time, the business has become more transparent. As part of the separation, a total of 239 train drivers moved from train operations to commuter services. HSL is the most important customer in commuter services. Pääkaupunkiseudun Junakalusto Oy substantially modernised its commuter services rolling stock during the year.
Long-distance services also modernised its rolling stock by introducing the new DuettoPlus restaurant cars on a number of lines. VR has ordered a total of 26 DuettoPlus restaurant cars.
Pohjolan Liikenne experienced substantial growth in local traffic in the Helsinki region by securing a large number of new service contracts in competitive tendering. Express coach services were particularly affected by changes in the markets and the company reacted to the new situation by launching a large number of discount campaigns. Punctuality in long-distance rail services improved in 2014. The punctuality of long-distance services in 2014 was 87.8 per cent (84.7%), while the figure for commuter services was 93.7 per cent (95.8%). Punctuality in logistics was 93.2 per cent (91.0%). Rolling stock and safety equipment malfunctions as well as track work, which continued almost throughout the year, and the extra speed limits resulting from them were some of the factors behind the delays.
The most important infrastructure engineering projects during the year were the Lielahti-Kokemäki alliance project, the Kokkola-Riippa construction contract and the Ring Rail Line superstructure contract. The most important contract in the maintenance sector was the maintenance contract for the tracks and safety equipment in the Uusimaa area, which accounts for almost one half of the total maintenance volume. VR Track and the Finnish Transport Agency concluded a track maintenance register and service agreement for the period 2015-2018. The most important projects in Sweden during the year were the maintenance contract for Mitt-Ådelsbanan and the Mälarbanan construction project.