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Introducing Mörkö, the 7,000-tonne super train – a boost for Finnish competitiveness that also reduces traffic emissions considerably

The Mörkö freight train, which is part of VR Transpoint’s transit traffic, is the equivalent of almost one hundred trucks. Increasing train sizes enhances freight train traffic, reduces emissions and improves the competitiveness of Finland’s transit traffic.

VR Transpoint has once again introduced a new gigantic freight train to Finland’s railways. The train weighs 7,000 tonnes, has 80 wagons and is about one kilometre long. The train, appropriately named Mörkö (the ogre), is pulled by two Vector electric locomotives and operates between Vainikkala and Hamina as part of Finnish transit traffic.

“Since last summer, we have tested several 7,000-tonne trains. We now have experience in the operational reliability of such a heavy train in the different conditions of summer, autumn and winter. This is crucial as we are aiming for the maximum hauling capacity of our new electric locomotive,” explains Martti Koskinen, Senior Vice President at VR Transpoint.

The train’s name was chosen from suggestions submitted in VR’s internal competition. Among the suggestions, the king of freight trains was compared to both a fairy-tale character and a legendary hockey hero.

More freight, less emissions

The previous Finnish record for tonnage of trains was set last spring, almost a year ago. Then, a train weighing 6,000 tonnes was piloted on the Vainikkala–Hamina railway. That train had 66 wagons. The 1,000-tonne increase to the train’s weight is considerable. When fully loaded, Mörkö is the equivalent of 92 trucks, while its predecessor weighed the same as 79 trucks.

However, the most important thing in increasing train sizes is not breaking records but reducing energy consumption and emissions in railway transport. Train traffic is already one of the cleanest ways of transporting goods, and the good energy efficiency of train traffic is based on its great freight capacity. The larger the trains, the more freight they can transport at once.

Transit traffic competitiveness requires larger trains

With the better hauling capacity of Vectron electric locomotives, VR Transpoint has been able to gradually increase train sizes, which also considerably enhances the freight traffic passing through Finland. Very long freight trains are commonly used in Russia. Previously, those trains had to be divided into several smaller trains in Vainikkala. The promotion of electrically driven traffic and enhancing axle loads are very important to freight traffic. If we want to increase train sizes in the future, the load capacity of rail infrastructure must be increased.

“It would be considerably more efficient if we could drive the trains coming from Russia as they are to the harbour. In addition to larger transports, this will positively impact VR Transpoint’s competitiveness, and Finnish transit traffic will also be seen as a more competitive option,” says Koskinen.