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Rail service returns to near-normal in southern Finland and Lapland

Some trains in and out of Helsinki were cancelled due to staff shortages, but otherwise rail officials expect smoother service this weekend.

Track work has slowed rail travel in recent weeks, with many trains replaced by busses (file photo). Image: Jani Aarnio / Yle

Railway officials, who came under fire after chaotic delays last weekend, reported completed repairs on two routes on Saturday – along with scattered cancellations and delays.

State rail operator VR said that electrical track damage between Riihimäki and Lahti had been fixed and that traffic would return to normal by around 9 am Saturday. Earlier G trains were replaced by buses.

The damage, which occurred on Friday evening, was repaired faster than previously estimated, said Fintraffic's Rail Traffic Centre.

According to a preliminary estimate, repairs were to continue until Saturday evening, potentially clogging traffic on the main south-central artery.

Also on Saturday morning, VR announced cancellations of some R trains on the Helsinki-Riihimäki route and Z trains between Helsinki and Lahti due to staff shortages. A morning train from Tampere to Vaasa was also delayed.

Trains back to normal near Rovaniemi

The Rail Traffic Centre also announced that disruptions in rail traffic between Oulu, Kemi and Rovaniemi in northern Finland had ended.

On Friday, a broken-down freight train interrupted rail traffic between Rovaniemi, capital of Finnish Lapland, and the village of Muurola, 25 km to the southwest.

According to the Rail Traffic Centre, the disabled train was moved to Rovaniemi so traffic could continue.

However, Saturday morning's first IC22 passenger train was still replaced by buses between Rovaniemi and Muurola, the centre said.

This is one of the summer busiest weekends, with several major music festivals as well as Helsinki Pride parade and the annual gathering of the Conservative Laestadian Lutheran movement. This year Summer Services (Suviseurat) are being held in Loppi, south of Hämeenlinna.

VR lists current disruptions on its Train traffic at the moment (siirryt toiseen palveluun) webpage.

Fatal crash near Helsinki Airport

Meanwhile there were road delays on the Ring 3 motorway in Vantaa following a fatal accident on Saturday morning. An 18-year-old woman was killed in a car crash around 9:30 am.

Rescue officials say that the vehicle ran off the road at the Vantaanportti ramp, just south of Helsinki Airport. The ramp was expected to be closed for about an hour, disrupting westbound traffic.