New purple color scheme for commuter trains

The sides of Flirt trains or Sm5 trains operating in the HSL area will be painted purple as HSL introduces company colors also on commuter train services alongside the blue buses, green trams and orange Metro. The purple color will make it easier to distinguish commuter trains from VR’s green long-distance trains. The purple trains will be introduced gradually, according to HSL's estimate over two or three years.

“HSL has been in operation for about five years now and our brand is made up of the colors of different modes of transport. It is not sensible to try to weed out the strong images associated with the blue buses, green trams and orange Metro; we should rather seek to strengthen the images. Our goal is that in the same way, the purple color will become strongly associated with commuter trains when talking about HSL area public transport,” says HSL Executive Director Suvi Rihtniemi.

Why purple?

Color schemes are chosen on purpose. In addition to the Flirt trains, the purple color will be introduced in HSL’s passenger information, for example on commuter train route maps. As a color that stands out, purple is suitable for both the trains and information.

The pale green currently used is not easily enough distinguished from the darker green of tram services. The green color scheme of the Flirt trains was chosen for the trains ordered by the rolling stock company Junakalusto Oy in 2007, before HSL was established. The pale green is also used on VR’s long-distance trains and it is VR’s brand color.

HSL wants to separate the HSL area commuter trains and VR long-distance trains more clearly than before. Company colors remain uniform even if the operator changed following tendering.

Blue, green and orange public transport

Although blue buses are strongly associated with Helsinki, in practice buses got a uniform color scheme only when HSL introduced its company colors. Up to the 1950’s, bus companies purchased vehicles in the colors that came out of the factory. Later on, a wide variety of colors was used as each bus company had its own color schemes. The blue color probably became so strongly associated with buses because HKL’s blue buses have always outnumbered other buses.

Trams have been green since the first tram was introduced. Yellow served as an additional color at the turn of the century when the wooden window frames were painted yellow. From there the color "spread" to other parts of the trams. In the 1980’s an orange-grey color scheme was experimented for a while. The color scheme aroused such energetic opposition in Helsinki that the trams were repainted green.

The orange color scheme of the Metro dates to the 1970’s. The designers of the Metro concept, Antti Nurmesniemi and Börje Rajalin, aimed to create an aesthetically high-level Metro that would please the passengers’ eyes for decades. They cooperated with the designers of the stations so that the Metro and the stations formed an integrated whole.

Illustration of the train color scheme sm5_violetti_cmyk.pdf

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