Enthusiast

Southern Finland by Private Train

1 to 9 July 2017
Finland

Starting and ending at Helsinki Airport, we explore rails in the south to reach Turku, travel on the west side of the country via Tampere, head inland to Kuopio, and eventually almost reach the Russian frontier via Joensuu. We lastly return south to Kouvola before using VR services to Helsinki Airport.

This will be PTG’s first foray into Finland, the Land of Wild Wooded Wilderness and Lakes, and the itinerary will take us to many sites of great railway interest as well as to some rarely visited freight lines, and also a narrow-gauge line. We will visit the Finnish Railway Museum at Hyvinkää and possibly several busy depots (not all of which appear in the Itinerary below as they depend on local arrangement) and the Steam Park at Haapamäki. One day, possibly two, will feature a Hr1 steam locomotive, but the main tour locomotives will be ex VR diesels Dr12 2216 and Dr13 2343 with classes Dv12, Dv15 and Dv16 also appearing. For the diesel enthusiast, this tour offers a considerable mileage over lines which have not seen regular diesel-hauled services for many years.  We hope to give a lunch option each day, either a packed lunch or a hot meal delivered to the train.

 

Tour Manager: Paul G


Itinerary

Day 1 Saturday 1st July.  We arrive at Helsinki Airport on flights from several UK airports and take the suburban train using the western loop of the airport line into Helsinki City Centre. There will be opportunity to see the city or travel on some of the tram lines after checking into our hotel overlooking the Main Station.

Day 2 Sunday 2nd July (B) We start from one of Helsinki’s most recognizable attractions – the Main Station with its four granite guards at the main entrance. Operating issues make use of locomotive and stock difficult for the first part of the day, so we will use a heritage class Dm7 diesel railcar. Leaving Helsinki, we will pass through Ilmala freight yard then leave the main line at Kerava for a visit to the heritage line to the attractive historic town of Porvoo and the freight branch to Sköldvik. From here we proceed directly to Lahti and transfer to our steam-hauled train. The train will visit the long branch line to Loviisa Harbour, a port specializing in forest product exports, then the threatened branch to Heinola. A long day ends with our arrival at Hyvinkää, a name rich with Finnish railway history. It is only a short distance to our hotel.

Day 3 Monday 3rd July (B) We start the day using a VR Dv12 diesel-hydraulic. We visit the Hyvinkää Railway Museum which is being opened earlier for the group. We now take the freight line to Karjaa, before continuing along the passenger line to Hanko, from where we hope to travel beyond the station towards the Free Port on the tip of the peninsula. We then go back to the junction station of Karjaa, with a possible change of Dv12 to make a fast run into Turku where we have time to do two of the shorter local freight lines (Vieheriäinen and Naantali) before returning to Turku for our overnight stay.  A visit to the harbour with its ferry terminal is recommended. Nearby are s/s Bore, the last ocean-going steam ship (now a hotel), and a former Finnish naval sailing ship built in 1902.

Day 4 Tuesday 4th July (B) Today our main motive power, diesel-electric loco Dr12 2216 takes over the train. Leaving Turku, we travel the long freight line to Uusikaupunki and continue across the causeway to the fertiliser plant on the island of Hangonsaari.  Back at Turku we travel northeast to reach Humppila where we leave our train and board a charter train on the 750mm gauge railway to Jokioinen. Continuing northeast we reach the Helsinki to Tampere mainline at Toijala, for a quick visit to a small locomotive museum before using the freight branch to the paper making town of Valkeakoski. Our day ends at the cosmopolitan city of Tampere, before which we pass through the freight yard at Viinikka where many locos can be seen. Tampere will be our base for two nights. Worth visiting is Näsinneula, the tallest observation tower in the Nordic countries, with fine views of the Seinäjoki main line and Lake Näsijärvi.

Day 5 Wednesday 5th July (B) An easy day behind Dr12, as we are hauled along the passenger line to Pori, before continuing up the peninsula over a series of bridges to reach Tahkoluoto, which is part of the Port of Pori on the Gulf of Bothnia. We will probably pause in Pori for lunch before continuing to the junction station of Kokemaki where we take the freight line to Rauma before returning to Tampere.

Day 6 Thursday 6th July (B) The day starts with a reversal at Tampere Viinikka Yard so we can do the Tampere avoiding line.  Our destination is Haapamäki, where our Dr12 is based. We will travel over the Vilppula to Mänttä freight branch behind double-headed class Dv15 and Dv16 diesels also owned by the Haapamäki Museum Locomotive Society.  Back at Haapamäki we will visit the Steam Park, where long lines of steam locomotives are on display in different conditions in preservation and there will be an option for lunch here in the restaurant.  From here with have a change of locomotive, using an “Alsthom” Dr13 diesel-electric. Our route is east now through Jyväskylä to reach Pieksämäki and our overnight stop.

Day 7 Friday 7th July (B) Pieksämäki is an important railway centre with depot, wagon works and extensive yards. We will ask to pass through the yards as we head north to pass through Kuopio, and take the long freight line from Siilinjärvi to Viinijärvi. En route we will visit the short branch to Vuonos. At Joensuu we have a depot visit planned – a short walk to the depot. We will spend the night in Joensuu and suggest you take a walk over the bridge near the hotel, crossing the Pielisjoki rapids, to reach the town centre. Of note is the town hall designed by Eliel Saarinen, the architect of Helsinki Main Station.

Day 8 Saturday 8th July (B) Today we take the long freight line to Ilomantsi, the easternmost part of Finland. Most of the line threatened following the ending of traffic from the wood pellet factory. Our main tour loco is too heavy for this branch, so we have to use a VR class Dv12 instead. With our Dr13 in charge again, we should make good time to Pieksämäki, where we take the freight only curve that leads into the Yard. Here we will either re-engine to the Hr1 ‘Pacific’ steam engine, or continue with the Dr13 southwards to Kouvola. On the way, we pause to travel the freight branch from Mäntyharju to Ristiina. At the end of a long day we end the tour in Kouvola and spend the night here rather than risk not making the last service train to Helsinki.

Day 9 Sunday 9th July (B) We take the service train from Kouvola to Tikkurila Helsinki, an hour journey with either Sr1 or Sr2 electric loco, before using the eastern section of the new Airport Line with a Flirt EMU, to arrive at Helsinki Airport at 10.52.

Place(s) available
UPDATED 16/05/2017
Holiday prices per person
  • 8 day special train only: £1,799
  • Hotel and transfer package (double or twin): £400
  • Hotel and transfer package (single): £695
  • Flights from the UK: From £200

Deposit

  • Travelling by air: £500
  • Own travel: £300
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Highlights
  • Haapamäki steam park
  • The Jokioinen Museum Railway, the last 750 mm gauge passenger railway operating in Finland
  • Travel behind two of VRs former big diesels, and a Hr1 ‘Pacific’ steam loco
Your holiday price includes
  • All travel as outlined in the itinerary
  • Good quality en-suite accommodation with breakfast (not if train only)
  • Services of our tour manager. Holiday is fully escorted.
Flights
  • Direct flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.