Electrification of Ylivieska-Iisalmi in Finland line helps greener freight rail transportation

Electrification of Ylivieska-Iisalmi in Finland line helps greener freight rail transportation
© VR

This development has enabled VR, the Finnish railway company, and Yara, the global fertilizer specialist, to operate fully electric rail traffic between Yara’s factories across Finland.

The completion of the Ylivieska-Iisalmi section’s electrification, a part of a broader initiative by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, shifted rail transport dynamics in the region. This project began in early 2021 and concluded by early 2024.

This electrification extends to a 154.5 km single-track line and is designed to support both existing freight traffic, including key industrial transports like smoked meat, fertilizer, mining outputs, and raw wood, as well as passenger services. The goal has been to improve the cost-effectiveness of rail transport and reduce the harmful emissions associated with it.

Impact on Yara and VR

For Yara, the electrification has streamlined operations significantly. Rail transport between its Siilinjärvi and Kokkola factories is now entirely electric, aligning with the company’s strategy to participate in climate-neutral food production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations. Yara’s commitment extends beyond transport, with substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions achieved at their production facilities through advanced catalyst technology and operational changes.

On VR’s side, the shift to electric traction allows the company to increase its electric-driven rail traffic share to around 80%. This move is expected to lower operational emissions and operational noise, making rail transport more environmentally friendly and efficient. Future plans include increasing train sizes to further optimize the network’s efficiency. VR uses Siemens Vectron locomotives with last-mile shunting diesel module, 80 of which as in deliveries to the Finnish incumbent operator.

VR aims to expand the electric traction across more of its network, targeting key freight routes like the Kolar railway and the Joensuu–Kontiomäki and Pieksämäki–Varkaus sections.

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