Finland to Explore Transition to European Track Gauge

Finlands kommunikasjonsminister Lulu Ranne
"It is great that in the current security situation the NATO planning groups for transport will meet in Finland. The Tampere meeting will strengthen and intensify cooperation between NATO countries," says Minister of Transport and Communications in Finland, Lulu Ranne (the Finns' Party), about the ongoing NATO meeting in the country. (Photo: Fanni Uusitalo, the Prime Minister's Office / LVM).

Finland's Minister of Transport and Communications, Lulu Ranne, says they will explore opportunities to upgrade the country's track gauge to the European standard. Such an upgrade would strengthen the railway connection to Norway and Sweden in the North.

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Finland will investigate whether the Finnish railway network can be changed to the European standard.

"We will explore on what timeframe and with what technology and funding it will be possible to change to the European track gauge with one step at a time," says the Finnish Minister of Transport Lulu Ranne (the Finns' Party), according to the Finnish broadcaster Yle.

At the end of April, the minister also confirmed to the Norwegian newspaper Fremover that the Finnish government has started investigating how the railway shall be developed and adapted to the European standard. The current standard is 1435 mm, while the Finnish gauge is 1524 mm. 

According to Yle, Ranne says the first connection with the European track gauge would be built from Haparanda, just across the border on the Swedish side in the North, and on to Brahestad just south of Oulu in Finland.

Anders Carlson, Jon-Ivar Nygård og Lulu Ranne, Narvik havn.
The ministers of transport: Anders Carlson (Christian Democrats) from Sweden, Jon-Ivar Nygård (Labor) from Norway, and Lulu Ranne (Finns Party) from Finland at the railway terminal by the Port of Narvik. Here, military materials will be loaded from ships to trains for further transport on the Ofoten Line to Sweden. (Photo: the Norwegian Ministry of Transport)

NATO transport summit

Ranne's recent statement is made in connection with the NATO transport meeting, which takes place in the Finnish city of Tammerfors this week. This is the first major official NATO meeting held in Finland since the country's accession to the alliance.

"It is great that NATO's planning board groups meet in Finland in the current security policy situation. The transport summit will intensify and strengthen the cooperation between NATO countries," she says in a press release.

At a press conference regarding the meeting, the Finnish transport minister elaborated on the plans of a possible transition to European track gauge, considering supply security, among other things. It would improve and simplify the railway connections in the North toward Norrbotten in Sweden and Narvik in Norway and secure civilian and military transport between the countries, i.a.

As High North News has previously reported, military transport through the Cap of the North was tested earlier this month. Significant amounts of US military equipment were transported on both railway and roads from the Port of Narvik through Sweden and on to Finland for the "Northern Forest" exercise in Finland.

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