The Rational Rail
East Railway: What and Why?
East Railway (Itärata in Finnish) connects the city of Porvoo with the Helsinki metropolitan region and provides faster and more direct railway connections towards the East of Finland via Kouvola, Joensuu and Kuopio. More than 2 million Finns – over a third of the country’s entire population – live in East Railway’s area of influence.
Well-functioning rail connections are vital for maintaining and improving the business, liveability, safety, and environmental capabilities in the East of Finland.
That is why East Railway is The Rational Rail.
Benefits of East Railway
The upcoming Airport Line (Lentorata) connection will link Finnish long-distance rail traffic with Helsinki Airport. The East Railway continues from the Airport Line via Porvoo towards Kouvola.
In Kouvola the connection joins the existing Savonia and Karelia railways, with the goal of achieving a travel time of 3 hours from both Joensuu and Kuopio to Helsinki.
The East of Finland is a considerable hub of industrial and academic activity, with internationally focused corporations and universities.
Fast railway connections stimulate new opportunities for investments, employment, research and tourism.
The aim for East Railway is to enhance Finland’s connectedness within the European system of rail, air and maritime logistics.
Additionally, improved logistics can be beneficial for safety and supply security aspects.
Advancing the role of rail travel in the European transit network promotes sustainability and climate goals.
The impacts of East Railway on environmental diversity, water protection, valuable natural sites and cultural environments will be assessed during the planning phase.
East Railway adheres to the principles of circular economy and strives to discover new types of technology and material solutions together with partners.
The positive impacts of East Railway are not limited to the East of Finland. They will be enjoyed by the whole country.”
Itärata Oy – East Railway Ltd
Itärata Oy (East Railway Ltd) is the project organization tasked with providing plans to make possible the construction of a connection that facilitates fast railway traffic from the Airport Line at Helsinki Airport via Porvoo to Kouvola. We produce information to enable the construction phase and to assess and recognise the impacts of the project.
We are owned by the Finnish state (controlling a 51% stake), as represented by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and 24 cities and municipalities in seven provinces.
Because we are jointly owned by the state and municipalities, we foster active partnership between various participants. We are focused on clear targets, operate in a solution-oriented way and strive to create innovations that are sustainable technically, economically and environmentally.
EU Funding for Planning and Execution
The aim of our meticulous planning work is to ensure that East Railway gets included as part of the extended Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), as proposed by the European Commission. This would enable Itärata Oy to apply for funding through the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme.
The planning phase for East Railway spans several electoral cycles, approximately nine years. The planning costs for the first five years of the project are estimated at 15 million euros. Cost estimate for the entire execution of the East Railway project is 1.7 billion euros.