HSL approved seven bidders to participate in commuter train tender

Two of the bidders are state railway companies and five are public transport companies operating in the European market. The bidding process will now continue with negotiations with the bidders. The contract for the operation of commuter train services is due to be awarded in April 2020. The current plan is that the selected operator will start operating the services in the HSL area in June 2021.

HSL decided to approve all seven applicants to participate in the HSL area commuter train tender. The participants include two state railway companies, VR Group Oy from Finland and SJ AB from Sweden.  The five other bidders, Arriva Sverige AB, MTR Nordic AB, Transdev Sverige AB, First Rail Holdingsand The Go-Ahead Group plc, represent a broad spectrum of public transport groups operating in the European market. With the exception of MTR, all of them operate also bus services.

HSL assessed the participants’ financial capacity and required that the companies accepted to participate already have a rail transport operating license in a European country.  In addition, HSL required references for operating similar commuter train services.

All participants meet HSL’s eligibility criteria. Next, HSL will meet the bidders and negotiate separately with each of them. Neuvotteluiden tavoitteena on se, että tarjouskilpailussa ja sopimuksessa kaikki tarvittavat yksityiskohdat tulevat huomioiduiksi.

We are very pleased with the high number of qualified applicants. We are well placed to achieve the goals of the tendering,” says HSL’s Executive Director Suvi Rihtniemi.

The goals of the tendering are improved commuter train services as well as cost savings.

“However, savings must not come at the cost of quality. We particularly want to improve the quality and reliability of commuter train services. In addition, we want commuter train services to be more closely integrated into HSL’s public transport system,” says Rihtniemi.

The tendering applies to commuter train services on the Ring Rail Line, on the main line from Helsinki to Kerava and on the coastal line from Helsinki to Siuntio. Other commuter trains are part of regional train services purchased by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Tendered regional train services will begin later than the services tendered by HSL.

The tendering of HSL’s commuter train services is conducted in two phases using competitive dialogue. The first phase started in February 2018. In the first phase, now completed, HSL assessed the suitability of the bidders. All bidders met the eligibility criteria set by HSL and were accepted to participate in the negotiations. After the negotiations, HSL will publish the final call for bids and draft contract. This is expected to take place in May 2019.

The winner is due to be announced in April 2020. HSL will conclude a ten-year contract with the winner for the operation of HSL area commuter train services. The current plan is that the selected operator will start operating the services in the HSL area in June 2021. 

HSL is due to award the contract for commuter train services in April 2020. The current plan is that the selected operator will start operating the services in the HSL area in June 2021. Photo: Lauri Eriksson / HSL