Every year, around 70 million rail journeys are made and tens of thousands of tonnes of freight are transported on Finland’s railways.
The central task of the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, Trafi, is to monitor and develop railway safety and the interoperability of the railway system, and to prepare new standards. The agency grants safety certificates to railway companies, safety authorisations to infrastructure managers and authorisations to take subsystems of the railway system into service, maintains the railway rolling stock register and manages matters relating to thecompetency and training of railway personnel.
Trafi works in close co-operation with the European Railway Agency, the European Commission and the national safety authorities of other EU member states.
The EU Railway Safety Directive requires each member state to have an authority for monitoring railway safety. The railway safety authority must be independent of the infrastructure manager and railway undertakings.
A railway industry regulatory body operates within Trafi, whose task is to ensure the functioning of the market and the non-discriminatory and equal treatment of actors in the field. The body adjudicates in matters based on complaints lodged as well as on its own initiative.
The Finnish railway network comprises 5,919 km of track in total, of which 570 km consists of multi-track railway. The greater part, about 3,000 km, of the railway is electrified. The track gauge of Finland's railway network is 1,524 mm.
The state railway network is owned by the Finnish Transport Agency. In addition to the Finnish Transport Agency, all managers of private railways, whose railway is connected to another private railway or to the state railway network, are infrastructure managers. For example, ports and factories can be managers of private railways.
The only commercial railway undertaking operating in Finland is VR Group. Freight traffic was opened up to competition in 2007; the opening up of passenger traffic to competition is currently in the planning stage.
Rail travel is safe for people and the environment. Railway safety is good in Finland, and rail traffic's percentage of total traffic emissions is minimal.