Helsinki Metro

Helsinki Metro

Infobox Public transit
name = Helsinki Metro

imagesize = 80px
locale = Helsinki
transit_type = Rapid transit
began_operation = 1982
ended_operation =
system_length = km to mi|21.1|abbr=yes|precision=1
lines = 2
vehicles =
stations = 17
ridership = 194 349 (2005)
track_gauge = 1524 mm
reporting marks =
operator = Helsinki City Transport
owner =

The Helsinki Metro ("Helsingin metro" in Finnish; "Helsingfors metro" in Swedish), is the metro system in Helsinki, Finland. It is the World's most northern metro, and currently the only one in Finland. The system was opened to the general public on 2 August 1982 after 27 years of planning. It is operated by Helsinki City Transport (HKL).

The system maintains a single forked line with 17 stations, with a total length of 21.1 km (13.1 mi). It serves primarily the tightly built suburbs of East Helsinki, but can also be used as a means of transport within the central parts of the city. The number of total passenger journeys exceeds 50 million annually, according to HKL statistics.


The initial motion for building a metropolitan railway system in Helsinki was made in September 1955. A committee was set to work on the issue, and a first draft of a system was issued in March 1963. The suggested system had a total length of 86.5 km (53.8 mi) and contained a total of 108 stations. This was rejected after lengthy discussions as too extensive, and the city assembly decided to only commission one line, from Kamppi to Puotila in the east of the city.

The go-ahead for the construction of the first stage of the metro system was given on 7 May 1969, and it was expected to finish before 1977. A testing track from the depot in Roihupelto to Herttoniemi was finished in 1971. However, several problems came up in the testing stages, including corruption and faults in the rolling stock, and the system was not opened until 1982, five years behind schedule.

On 1 June 1982, the test drives were opened to the general public, but the system was not officially opened until 2 August 1982, 27 years after the initial motion to the city assembly had been made. The system originally had only six stations between the Central Railway Station and Itäkeskus, but it has since been expanded by eleven additional stations, including a fork at Itäkeskus.

Expansion of the network

* 1971: Herttoniemi – Roihupelto (test track)
* 1 June 1982: Hakaniemi – Itäkeskus (rush hour service)
* 1 July 1982: Central Railway Station – Hakaniemi (rush hour service)
* 2 August 1982: official opening ceremony
* 1 March 1983: Kamppi – Central Railway Station
* 1 September 1984: Sörnäinen metro station opened
* 21 October 1986: Itäkeskus – Kontula
* 1 September 1989: Kontula – Mellunmäki
* 16 August 1993: Ruoholahti – Kamppi
* 1 March 1995: Kaisaniemi metro station opened
* 31 August 1998: Itäkeskus – Vuosaari
* 1 January 2007: Kalasatama metro station opened

After decades of debate and planning, the metro extension to the west (Länsimetro) has received the go-ahead. The extension is unlikely to open before 2013.


The Helsinki Metro system currently consists of seventeen stations. The stations are located along a Y shape, where the central line runs from the city centre towards the eastern suburbs. The line forks at the Itäkeskus metro station. The six stations in central Helsinki are below surface, while the eleven eastern stations are surface stations.

Trains on the metro system usually run every four or five minutes, and they alternate between the Mellunmäki (northern) and Vuosaari (eastern) branches. The metro stops at every station, and the names of the stations are announced in both Finnish and Swedish (with the exceptions of Central Railway Station, which is announced also in English, and Kaisaniemi, which is pronounced identically in Finnish and Swedish). Audio|Helsinki_Metro_Station_Announcement.ogg|Station announcement at Itäkeskus.

The metro is designed as a core transport facility, which means that extensive feeder bus transport links are provided between the stations and the surrounding districts. Taking a feeder bus to the metro is often the only option to get to the city centre from some districts. For example, since the construction of the metro, all daytime bus routes from Laajasalo terminate at the Herttoniemi metro station.

List of stations

Ruoholahti - Itäkeskus:
* Ruoholahti ("Gräsviken")
* Kamppi ("Kampen")
* Central Railway Station ("Rautatientori" / "Järnvägstorget")
* Kaisaniemi ("Kajsaniemi")
* Hakaniemi ("Hagnäs")
* Sörnäinen ("Sörnäs")
* Kalasatama ("Fiskhamnen")
* Kulosaari ("Brändö")
* Herttoniemi ("Hertonäs")
* Siilitie ("Igelkottsvägen")
* Itäkeskus ("Östra centrum")

Itäkeskus - Mellunmäki: (northern branch)
* Itäkeskus ("Östra centrum")
* Myllypuro ("Kvarnbäcken")
* Kontula ("Gårdsbacka")
* Mellunmäki ("Mellungsbacka")

Itäkeskus - Vuosaari: (southern branch)
* Itäkeskus ("Östra centrum")
* Puotila ("Botby gård")
* Rastila ("Rastböle")
* Vuosaari ("Nordsjö")


The fact that most of the stations are located on the surface makes the metro system more friendly for passengers with mobility problems. There are no stairs on most sub-surface stations, and moving from street level from the stations can be done by escalators or lifts. The trains themselves have no steps either, and the platforms are always at the same level as the floor of the train.


The ticketing scheme on the Metro is consistent with other forms of transport inside the city of Helsinki, managed by the Helsinki City Transport (HKL) agency. Single tickets can be bought from ticket machines at the stations or by SMS. A single ticket can be used to change for any other form of transport inside the city, and is valid for one hour. Passes issued by HKL or YTV are also valid on the Metro.

Rolling stock

The trains on the Helsinki Metro are technologically quite similar to trains on the VR commuter rail network, which serves the northern and western suburbs of Helsinki. The rail gauge is 5 feet, 1524 mm (European broad gauge), as in all Finnish railway traffic. The electricity used by the metro trains is a 750 volt direct current, and it is drawn from an electricity track (also known as third rail) on the side of the metro tracks.

There are currently two different models of Metro Train in service. The M100 series was built by Strömberg in the early 1980s and the newer M200 series was built by Bombardier and has been used since 2001. Even though the system was built in the 1970s and 1980s, it is still modern compared to most other metros in the world.

The normal speed of the metro trains is 70 km/h (44 mph) inside the tunnels and 80 km/h (50 mph) on the open portion of the network. The points have a maximum structural speed of either 35 km/h (22 mph) or 60 km/h (37 mph).

The future

The last major change to the Metro system was the completion of the new Kalasatama metro station between Sörnäinen and Kulosaari. The new station serves the new "Sörnäistenranta-Hermanninranta" (Eastern Harbour) area, a former port facility that will be redeveloped as its functions are moved to the new Port of Vuosaari in the east of the city. Another new station is being planned in Roihupelto, between Siilitie and Itäkeskus. It is planned to serve a future residential area, the planning of which is still to begin [] .

The City of Helsinki supports plans to extend the Metro to the neighbouring municipalities of Espoo in the west and Vantaa and Sipoo in the northeast. The municipalities themselves are not very supportive of the idea, and especially the proposed extension to southern Espoo (the so-called "länsimetro") has provoked lots of discussion and political feuding both within Espoo and between the two municipalities. However, according to a poll conducted in 2005, 75 % of people in Espoo favoured building the western extension, and in September 2006, the Espoo city council made a decision to start building the länsimetro. The extension is expected to be in operation in 2013 at the earliest. Currently, the metro stops at Kamppi bus terminal, where the buses via the highway Länsiväylä to Espoo leave.

A second Metro line from Laajasalo via Kamppi to Pasila north of the city centre, and possibly onwards to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, is also being planned. This is being taken into consideration in city plans and has been discussed by the city assembly, but does not look likely to be constructed before 2020 at the earliest. At the Kamppi station, a platform level for a crossing line was excavated already during the original construction, to prepare for this eventuality.

On May 17, 2006 the Helsinki city council decided that the current, manually driven metro trains will be replaced by automatic ones, operated without drivers [] . Until this is done, expansion of the system will not be possible as new and replacement parts for the current system, built in the 1970s, are increasingly difficult to obtain. The goal is to have the automatic trains running in 2013.

Unused Metro stations

In addition to the metro stations already in operation, forward-looking design has led to extra facilities being constructed in case they are needed in the future.; Kamppi: The current metro station lays in an east-west direction. A second metro station was excavated at the same time of construction in 1981. This station is about right angles (north-south), below the first one and has platforms 100m in length, slighly shorter than those above. [Helsingin Sanomat, [ Seed of new subway line sprouting in basement of Kamppi complex] , 2005-02-05.] Tunnels designed to eventually connect the two sets of lines curve off from the west-end of Kamppi. See also: Helsingin Sanomat published [ side elevation plan] and [ photograph of second level] .; Hakaniemi: Two station boxes were constructed in Hakaniemi. Intended for future expansion, the second is presently unused. Helsingin Sanomat, [ From the westbound line to the airport] , 2005-02-13.] ; Kaisaniemi: A second area exists below the current platforms, with the intention to allow for future expansion.; Munkkivuori: The designers of Finland's first shopping centre were very enthusiastic about the rumoured plans for a metro system all over Helsinki—something that would not appear for another 20 years. Built in 1964, the station does not fit into any future metro lines and is unlikely to be used. The platform area is currently partially littered with building-rubble from more recent construction works in the area and the only visible evidence of the ahead-of-its-time station are a pair of large escalators. The escalators lead down from the main part of the shopping mall to the below-ground area where the ticket office would have been. The entrance to the lower level is behind the strange-shaped photographic shop. [Helsingin Sanomat, [ Juna ei saavu koskaan ensimmäiselle metroasemalle (First Metro station will never be used)] , 2005-02-13.]


According to the Helsinki City Transport (HKL) yearly report for 2003, the metro system had a total of 55.4 million passengers, who travelled a total of 404.1 million kilometres. The total turnover for the metro division of HKL was €16.9 million and it made a profit of €3.8 million.

The Metro is by far the cheapest form of transport in Helsinki to operate, with a cost of only €0.032 per passenger kilometre. The same figure for the second cheapest form - trams - was €0.211.

In 2002, the Metro used 39.8 GWh of electricity, though the figure was rising (from 32.2 GWh in 2001). This equals 0.10 kWh per passenger kilometre, and compares favourably with Helsinki's trams (which used 0.19 kWh per passenger kilometre in 2002). []

See also

*Geography of Helsinki
*Helsinki Metropolitan Area
*List of Helsinki metro stations
*List of rapid transit systems
*Public transport in Helsinki


External links

* [ Helsinki City Transport]
* [ Metro Website of the Finnish Tramway Society]
* [ UrbanRail - Helsinki]
* [ Photos of the Metro of Helsinki]
* [ Pics of Helsinki Metro]

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