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160 years of traveling together - VR donates EUR 160 000 as humanitarian aid to Ukraine

160 years of traveling together - VR donates EUR 160 000 as humanitarian aid to Ukraine
photo: VR GROUP press materials/160 years of traveling together - VR donates EUR 160 000 as humanitarian aid to Ukraine
18 / 03 / 2022

VR celebrates its 160th birthday today. Regular train services between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna began in Finland on 17 March 1862. Today, the responsible service company has its sights firmly set on a carbon-neutral future for public transport and building a better future with its staff and customers. VR will donate to Ukraine for humanitarian aid.

"The railway is indispensable for every country that wants to keep up with the development of civilization," emphasized the Finnish national philosopher J. V. VR. Snellman. In a sparsely populated country, rail transport revolutionized the perception of time and distance. By the time Finland became independent, the State Railways had already become a service institution shaping the country's economy, social structure, and culture. Over time, steam locomotives were replaced first by diesel locomotives and then by electric locomotives. The number of passengers and goods transported by rail grew throughout the decades. The pace has also increased - a train journey that took more than four and a half hours in 1862 now takes an hour.

"The railways have a great, long history. VR has always been an important part of Finland's development. You could say that VR was already the Tesla of its time - at the forefront of pioneering thinking. VR continues to play a key role in Finnish society, in smooth everyday journeys and industrial transport. Today's VR Group is a responsible, innovative, and versatile service company," says CEO Lauri Sipponen.

To celebrate the occasion, VR is today delighting its customers with surprises onboard the trains, and by launching a season ticket offer: during the celebration week, until Sunday 20 March, the VR Matkalla app will offer 90-day season tickets for the price of a 45-day one.

"Building on long experience and solid expertise is a good way to build a sustainable future. VR is committed to promoting carbon-neutral public transport as part of the solution to the climate crisis, and we aim to achieve the Finnish government's goal of carbon neutrality by 2035. Rail travel is already carbon neutral today, and around 80% of freight trains run on clean, renewable electricity. We want to be a forerunner in responsible business and show the way for others to follow," says Sipponen.

Centenary donation for humanitarian aid in Ukraine

VR previously reported on its efforts to support Ukraine. In March, one can travel free of charge on VR's long-distance and commuter trains with a Ukrainian passport. VR wants to make the journey of refugees arriving in Finland easier and help them to meet their loved ones. Now, the anniversary donation will also be directed towards Ukraine.

"The war in Ukraine is on all of our minds, and we also feel solidarity with our colleagues working on the Ukrainian railways, who are playing an important role in the evacuation of civilians. We want to increase our support for the Ukrainians and mark the anniversary by donating EUR 160,000 in humanitarian aid. In times of crisis, railways play an important role for society, both in Ukraine amid military operations and here in Finland - first in the challenges of the pandemic and now also in helping our customers cope with the indirect effects of the Ukrainian crisis," says Sipponen.