Transport of dangerous goods by rail

The safe transport and handling of dangerous goods require that all of the parties to the operations share a common view of the hazardous properties of the transported goods. In order to avoid accidents and mitigate the consequences of any incidents, national and international regulations have been issued regarding the transport of dangerous goods.

Transport of dangerous goods by rail in domestic traffic

The transport of dangerous goods is regulated by an Act applicable to all modes of transport (719/1994, as amended). Rail transport is also regulated by the Government Decree on the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Rail (195/2002, as amended) and Traficom's regulation on the transport of dangerous goods by rail.

The appendices to Traficom's regulation include detailed provisions on the classification of dangerous goods, packaging, necessary documents, approval and equipment of vehicles, exemption limits and the markings on the waybill, packaging and vehicle/wagon.

Acts and decrees regulating the transport of dangerous goods have been compiled in the publication “Vaarallisten aineiden kuljetus rautatiellä” (“Transport of dangerous goods by rail”. The publication is updated once every two years, in odd years.

Legislation and regulations on the transport of dangerous goods by rail (Only in Finnish and Swedish)

Transport of dangerous goods by rail in Eastern traffic

Railway transport of dangerous goods by rail between Finland and Russia and via Russia to and from the CIS countries is regulated by a bilateral treaty between the Republic of Finland and the Russian Federation on the transport of dangerous goods in direct international rail traffic between Finland and Russia. In the case of Eastern railway services, transport must be carried out using wagons registered in Russia or in another CIS country that is not party to the COTIF Convention.

Agreement (in Finnish) on the implementation of the treaty between the Republic of Finland and the Russian Federation on the transport of dangerous goods in direct international rail traffic between Finland and Russia (in Russian).

The agreement on implementation includes detailed provisions on the classification of dangerous goods, packaging, necessary documents, approval and equipment of vehicles, exemption limits and the markings on the waybill, packaging and vehicle/wagon.

Transport of dangerous goods by rail in Western traffic

Traffic between Finland and other countries that have acceded to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF) is subject to the RID regulations. The RID regulations have been the basis for drafting Finland's national rail transport regulations. Finland's internal regulations are stricter only with regard to the frost resistance of the structural material of tank wagons, tank containers and plastic containers. The other provisions are consistent.

Language of the waybill

Under the COTIF convention, the waybill is drawn up in the official language of the country of origin. If this official language is not German, French or English, a translation into German, French or English shall be appended.

Please note: When transporting dangerous goods, in addition to the other waybill entries, the RID checkbox in the waybill must be ticked.

Obligation to appoint a safety adviser

Undertakings transporting or loading dangerous goods or whose activities otherwise affect the transport safety of such goods by road and/or rail must appoint a person specially trained for this purpose as the company's safety adviser.

Legislation on safety advisers is laid down by Government Decree 274/2002.

The safety adviser must have a certificate (road and/or rail) specific to the mode of transport proving that the person has the required expertise. The certificate is issued by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Traficom).

Review the legislation to find out of whether your company also needs to have a legally required security adviser to perform the tasks defined in the relevant decree.