[FI] VR Vectron in first commercial cargo service

VR has ten Vectron delivered yet. Some are still in test services. Valtion Rautatiet (Finnish Railway) started a first customer service from Äänekoski, where Vectron in diesel operation can be seen, to the port of Vuosaari near Helsinki.

By P. Trippi, reports from Finland. All photos by author.

The advanced features of the new Sr3 locomotives are utilised when transporting pulp from Metsä Group’s bioproduct mill in Äänekoski to Vuosaari on the line through Laukaa – Jyväskylä – Muurame – Orivesi – Tampere – Toijala – Riihimäki – Kerava. The bio product mill transports 800,000 tonnes of pulp per year by rail to Vuosaari Harbour and from there by ship to export.

According to Petri Auno, Senior Vice President / Train Operations at VR Group, the Vectrons are undergoing an extensive and thorough testing program. On a recent travel around Finland Vectrons were seen parked at Oulu and Seinäjoki. Another unknown Vectron was seen in electric/software tests in combination with a Sr2/Intercity push-pull train consist at Ilmala Depot on 26.9.2017. So far Vectron isn’t yet in regular passenger operation.

VR Group has ordered a total of 80 new, efficient and energy-conserving locomotives from Siemens. The value of the transaction is more than 300 million euros. This locomotive procurement transaction is part of a series of major rolling stock investments by VR Group. The batch production of the locomotives will begin in summer 2018 and the full batch will be delivered by 2026. They are replacing the aging Sr1 electric and many of the line operating Dv12 diesel engines.

VR 3306 crossing a bridge over Ala-Keitele lake sidearm towards Äänekoski with an empty consist for Metsä Fibre – 27.09.2017 – Photo: Peider Trippi
Arrival of VR 3306 at Vanha Station already running its diesel motors – Äänekoski 27.09.2017 – Photo: Peider Trippi

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Shunting in diesel mode: VR 3306 27.9.2017 at Vanha Station / Äänekoski – Photo: Peider Trippi
VR 3306 arriving in a few minutes at its final destination at Äänekoski 27.09.2017 – Photo: Peider Trippi
VR 3305 at Seinäjoki yard 06.10.2017 – The Vectron has radio control equipment that makes it possible for the driver to move the locomotive from the outside and work independently without other shunting yard personnel – Photo: Peider Trippi

The Vectron can tow freight trains that are larger than before, more than 2,000 tonnes. VR 3306 between Hämeenlinna and Tampere on 09.10.2017 – Photo: Peider Trippi
VR 3310 at Oulu 04.10.2017. In the background the Class Sr1, Russian built in the seventies and today the backbone on VR freight and regional IC services, which will be replaced by Vectrons – Photo: Peider Trippi

List of the first 10 Vectron locomotives for VR Group:

  • Siemens 21966 = VR Group 3301 / To Finland in July 2016
  • Siemens 21967 = VR Group 3302 / January 2016
  • Siemens 21968 = VR Group 3303 / May 2016
  • Siemens 21969 = VR Group 3304 / May 2016
  • Siemens 22031 = VR Group 3305 / unknown
  • Siemens 22077 = VR Group 3306 / April 2017
  • Siemens 22078 = VR Group 3307 / April 2017
  • Siemens 22079 = VR Group 3308 / April 2017
  • Siemens 22080 = VR Group 3309 / May 2017
  • Siemens 22081 = VR Group 3310 / May 2017

Read more about the VR Vectron locomotives on Railcolor.net