VR’s year 2023


Together towards a better world

Annual report 2023

Annual Report 2023 cover

VR's annual report consists of four parts:
VR's direction, Sustainability Report, Governance and Financial review.

The reports on Governance and Financial Review are also available for download as separate PDF files:

Key figures

The comparable operating result was EUR 59.9 million, representing an increase of 907 per cent when compared to 2022.
Net sales amounted to EUR 1,224.1, showing an increase of 10.6 per cent when compared to 2022.
The total number of journeys in long-distance traffic in Finland was 15.1 million, representing an increase of 14 per cent when compared to 2022.
*The number of VR employees has increased, largely due to the company's acquisition in Sweden in 2022.

CEO's review

We are building the sustainable VR of the future

"The year 2023 was a time of great reform for VR. After a few loss-making years, we responded to our challenges with a new strategy and values. We focused on profitability, growth and the development of a culture based on our values. As a result, our comparable operating result grew significantly in 2023 to EUR 59.9 million. Profitability was improved by growth in the number of long-distance journeys and the determined execution of our turnaround improvement programme. Lowered energy costs also positively impacted our profitability. On the other hand, the weak volumes of freight traffic and changes in city-traffic contracts slowed down our profit development. Comparable net sales remained at the same level as the previous year."


The popularity of the carbon-neutral train as a means of transport clearly grew during 2023, when a record number of more than 15 million train journeys were made on our long-distance trains. This increase in the number of journeys was influenced by the reform of dynamic pricing, especially by the addition of lower price points. The contribution of train transport to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is significant, with society as a whole benefitting from a higher share of transport taking place by rail. VR’s operations reduced the emissions of our customers and society by approximately 460,000 tCO2e, which corresponds to the annual carbon footprint of about 45,000 citizens of Finland.

An excellent customer experience is the cornerstone of all of our operations

In 2023, customer satisfaction in VR’s long-distance traffic – as measured by the Net Promoter Score (NPS) – increased considerably to 49 (38). The NPS was particularly impacted by the ease of buying a ticket, as well as by improved travel comfort and the information provided to customers during the trip. We also developed our offering of additional services, which were well received by our customers and helped to improve our profitability.

Increasing the modal share of zero-emission rail traffic requires the continuous improvement of customer satisfaction. Approximately half of train delays in Finland are caused by poor rail infrastructure, so properly targeted and sufficient government infrastructure investments are necessary to improve the punctuality of trains. Through its investments, VR is increasing the speed of in-train Wi-Fi up to five-fold by the summer of 2024. Improving the network connectivity of trains also requires telecom operators to invest in trackside access points.

In freight traffic, we succeeded in responding to the challenges of the operating environment by developing new customer-oriented service models. These include the electrically driven roundwood train transports to the Kemi bioproduct mill, a logistic service concept that we launched in April.

We are determined to continue our efforts to improve our competitiveness and to increase the modal share of the train

The execution of VR’s strategy and acceleration of our profit improvement will continue with steadfast commitment. Operating in a competitive and open market requires us to continuously develop our capabilities and seize opportunities.

By 2027, VR is seeking EUR 250 million in turnaround improvement measures, which will enable EUR 1 billion of investments in rolling stock, electrification, technology and expertise in both Finland and Sweden. Through these investments we aim to meet the needs of future sustainable public transport and promote growth in the share of low-emission rail traffic among the different modes of transport. Rolling-stock investments amounting to almost EUR 1 billion will ensure the continuity of Finnish rail traffic for the coming decades.

Together we create a value-based VR culture as one of our key success factors

Motivated staff and effective cooperation with our extensive stakeholder network are key to the successful implementation of VR’s strategy. We are building a culture based on our values, where we trust each other and work together. Safety, customer satisfaction and responsibility are at the core of everything we do. VR is an open, inclusive and collaborative community.

In our strategy we focus on developing a value-based work culture and leadership. During 2023 we introduced our shared values to our daily work: we care, we work together and we drive improvement. According to the personnel survey conducted at the end of the year, 82% of our employees recognise our new values. This is a good starting point for continuing to create a value-based VR culture as one of our key success factors.

When building the sustainable VR of the future, we also invest heavily in responsibility. Rail-traffic emissions account for only 1% of all traffic emissions, and 95% of our passenger trains are already electrically driven.

In 2023 we achieved good results in our energy-efficiency programme, among other things. We improved the efficiency of energy consumption in electric-train traffic by almost 8% compared to the previous year, which corresponds to the annual consumption of approximately 7,000 terraced homes in Finland. The energy-efficient and proactive driving style of locomotive drivers strongly contributed to the good result. We have also further raised the level of our sustainability efforts by committing to the Science Based Targets initiative. We now aim to set science-based short-term climate targets as well as long-term net-zero targets.

Safety is another key responsibility area, with 2023 our best ever year for occupational safety. The total number of accidents and the accident frequency – leading to lost time per million hours worked – both decreased from the previous year. The year 2023 was also the best ever in measured history with regard to railway-safety incident frequency. The number of safety observations made by our personnel increased significantly, verifying that our employees are actively involved in the development of safety.

We are accelerating the popularity of the carbon-neutral train as a mode of transportation

We are also actively involved in reforming our industry and supporting the implementation of the Government Programme items relating to rail transport. Adequate and appropriately targeted infrastructure investments are the most important prerequisites for the growth of rail traffic, increased competition and the achievement of emission-reduction targets for the transport sector.

In order to create a neutral competitive environment, we aim to divest station properties and other rail infrastructure still under VR ownership. In 2023 we helped to create the conditions for competitive market-based traffic by putting some of our rolling stock up for sale. Our goal is to promote the growth of the regional contract traffic that is subject to competitive tendering, and to simultaneously create the conditions for the growth of market-based traffic under the Open Access principle.

I want to warmly thank our personnel for their ongoing commitment to executing our strategy, and I want to thank our stakeholders for their cooperation on VR’s journey towards a carbon-neutral society. Developing responsible business is both an obligation and an opportunity for VR. Working closely together with our stakeholders means we can achieve results that have an even greater impact.

CEO, VR-Yhtymä Oyj

Highlighs 2023

We create success through a values-based culture

Developing a values-based culture is an important aspect of the execution of our strategy. In 2023, we put our shared values – we care, we work together and we drive improvement – into action in daily life. According to the results of our personnel survey, 82% of our employees are familiar with our new values. This is a good starting point for continuing to create a value-based VR culture as one of our key success factors.

Rising number of long-distance journeys

A record number of more than 15 million train journeys were made on our long-distance trains in 2023. This is the largest number of journeys on record for VR. The 14 per cent increase from the previous year was due to the increased popularity of business and work travel mainly on weekdays, the growing popularity of free-time travel and the declining impacts of the pandemic. In the early part of the year, travel volumes were also supported by the temporary elimination of VAT on train journeys.

New contracts drive growth in Sweden

We continue to build a well-established position in the Swedish market. VR was selected as X-trafik’s train services operator in the Gävleborg region starting from June 2025. The contract is VR’s second successful tender for train operations following the acquisition made in Sweden. In December 2023, VR began train operations in the Bergslagen region.

Record-high customer satisfaction

The post-journey Net Promoter Score (NPS) in long-distance traffic rose to 49 in 2023, compared to 38 in the previous year. The most significant factors influencing the NPS are the punctuality of trains, the functionality of the train network, the cleanliness of trains and the condition of the train fleet.

Reducing transport emissions through electrification

Rail traffic accounts for approximately 1% of all transport emissions in Finland. Approximately 95% of our passenger trains now run on electricity. We have invested in new Sr3 electric locomotives, some of which have already been deployed. The goal is to have all 80 locomotives deployed by 2026.