Travel rights and conditions
These Travel Terms and Conditions of VR-Group Ltd’s (hereinafter “VR”) Passenger Services apply to all train journeys and services organised by the Passenger Services in Finland.
These Terms and Conditions determine the rights and obligations of VR and its customers. Separate provisions govern passenger rail traffic between Finland and Russia. For additional information on Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) tickets, contact HSL or go to HSL’s website.
There are separate terms and conditions for travelling with Interrail and Eurail passes.
The terms and conditions enter into force on 11.12.2019 and are valid until further notice. They will replace VR’s Conditions of Carriage that entered into force on 14 August 2017.
Rules related to car transport can be checked from the car transport terms and conditions on the vr.fi website.
The vr.fi website contains extensive information about timetables, trains and onboard services, ticket selection and prices, stations as well as supplementary and additional services.
A ticket is a contract of carriage, according to which VR shall transport the passenger from the departure station to the destination station. The passenger shall have a ticket that is valid throughout the train journey and approved by VR.
The train journey starts when the passenger has boarded the train or another means of transport arranged by VR. VR is responsible for transport other than rail transport only if it is arranged by VR. The journey ends when the passenger has exited the means of transport in question.
Train timetables and the rolling stock may change in the period between the ticket purchase and the passenger’s journey. Customers that have given their contact information are informed of any material changes.
Personal tickets may only be used by the person whose name is marked on the ticket. In this case, the passenger shall be prepared to show a proof of identity. The rules governing changes and cancellations of tickets are ticket-specific. VR charges a fee for changes and cancellations. Lost, damaged or partly used train tickets cannot be changed or cancelled.
A ticket is not valid if the journey for the multi-ticket has not been reserved or the ticket has been altered or forged.
In VR’s long-distance traffic, the ticket shall be purchased from onboard personnel on the train at the latest. In VR’s commuter traffic, the ticket shall be purchased before boarding the train.
Even if the passenger has a ticket, he or she may be removed from the train if he or she endangers the safety of the service or other passengers or disturbs other passengers.
1.1. Ticket in VR’s long-distance traffic
VR’s long-distance traffic encompasses journeys made on InterCity, Pendolino, express and regional trains in the entire railway network in Finland. The customer shall always choose a seat or a sleeping berth for single tickets and multi-tickets, with the exception of regional trains and buses.
The ticket entitles the passenger to travel in the train, class and seat indicated on the ticket. When travelling with a long-distance train season ticket, the passenger may choose a free seat in the class indicated on the ticket without booking a seat. In certain train services, VR may offer quota seats to passengers travelling with a season ticket. Under exceptional circumstances, VR’s onboard personnel may show the passenger to a seat other than the one indicated on the ticket or chosen by the passenger.
Passenger with a sleeping berth ticket should remain in the sleeping cabin stated on the ticket during the ticket inspection. If the passenger with the sleeping berth ticket is not present in the cabin during the ticket inspection, the onboard personnel is authorised to sell the berth to another passenger.
If the customer wants to change the ticket to another date or time, VR cancels the original ticket and sells a new ticket. If the ticket is unreadable or damaged, VR may refuse to accept the change or cancellation of the ticket.
1.2. Ticket in VR’s commuter traffic
VR’s commuter traffic encompasses traffic operated with commuter trains with line IDs in areas from Helsinki to Lahti and Tampere. VR’s commuter traffic tickets are not valid on VR’s long-distance trains.
The ticket shall be purchased before boarding the train. During the validity of the ticket, the passenger may change trains. This change shall take place within the validity period of the ticket. The ticket entitles the passenger to travel to the destination station indicated on the ticket even if the validity of the ticket ends before the arrival.
Single and multi-tickets that have been printed on paper shall be validated with the validator onboard immediately after boarding the train. The journey on a digital multi-ticket shall be activated before boarding the train. A digital single ticket shall be valid when boarding the train.
1.3. Ticket inspection
VR’s onboard personnel and ticket inspectors may inspect tickets on the train.
The passenger shall present the ticket at the onboard ticket inspection. When changing trains, the ticket shall also be presented after the change. The ticket shall be kept until leaving the train at the destination station.
Passengers that do not have a valid ticket and do not purchase a ticket when VR’s onboard personnel inspect tickets are considered to be travelling without a ticket. Passengers without a ticket may be removed from the train.
A ticket inspector is entitled to impose a penalty fare to the passenger travelling without an appropriate and valid ticket. In addition, the ticket inspector is entitled to charge the price of a single ticket.
The passenger shall have a valid certificate proving their right to a discount with them for the entire journey.
When travelling with a discount ticket, the entitlement to a discount shall be proven in ticket inspection in a manner determined by VR. Otherwise it is deemed that the ticket is not valid, and the passenger shall purchase a full-price ticket. A discount cannot be obtained retroactively.
2. Luggage, pets and children travelling alone
2.1. Children travelling alone
Children travelling alone by train are under the responsibility of their parents. The conductor does not have an obligation to look after children during the journey.
The passenger may carry two pieces of luggage and a handbag, a backpack or a comparable piece of luggage. The passenger shall look after his or her hand luggage and is responsible for it. VR delivers lost property to the lost property office.
Hand luggage shall not inconvenience other passengers or rail traffic or cause damage to, for example, other passengers or luggage. If the passenger fails to adhere to the above, train personnel is authorized to refuse such pieces of luggage.
The passenger is liable for damage caused by his or her hand luggage in accordance with general liability provisions. The liability applies also to cases in which the hand luggage is placed so that the passenger cannot directly monitor it. VR is not liable for any damage caused by loss of or damage to hand luggage, unless the loss or damage is caused by VR’s or its personnel’s negligence or a circumstance referred to in the Rail Traffic Liability Act.
Prams used by families with children and assistance devices used by passengers with reduced mobility can be transported free of charge onboard trains.
The Act on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and the Government Decree on the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Rail govern the transport of dangerous goods. Small amounts of dangerous goods may be carried as hand luggage in trains if the goods are packaged for retail trade and are intended for personal use or for sports and leisure time use and do not cause inconvenience or risk to other passengers or VR.
Firearms may be carried as hand luggage in trains as specified in the Firearms Act, that is, unloaded in a container.
Bikes may be transported in designated spaces onboard trains with a luggage car or bike spaces. In InterCity trains, a space for the bike shall be reserved in advance. Bikes cannot be transported on Pendolino trains.
Bike trailers are transported empty and a bicycle fee is charged.
Goods that require a lot of space can be transported as luggage in a separate luggage space on night trains. In this case, a luggage charge is collected. Before the journey, customers shall make sure that the transport is possible. Passenger is responsible for the loading of the luggage into the train, its transfer when changing trains and its pick-up at the destination station. With regard to its size, weight and other properties, the luggage shall be of such type that it may be transported without causing danger, damage or unnecessary inconvenience.
Pets are allowed in designated seats or spaces. If a pet is transported in other than designated seat, the passenger shall protect the seat with a cover. Passenger may travel with pets (and guide, assistance and hearing dogs) in sleeping cabins only in a pet cabin booked entirely for the group. Pets other than dogs shall be transported in pet carriers.
On commuter trains, pets may be transported free of charge in pet cabins. In long-distance trains, a pet charge is collected for the transportation of pets.
The passenger shall take care of his or her pet during the entire journey. Pets cannot travel alone.
3. Disabled passengers
Before the journey, customers shall ensure the availability of the services for disabled passengers. VR offers assistance service on stations that have an assistance point. Information about these stations is available on www.vr.fi website, from VR’s customer service and from station ticket offices. The assistance service shall be ordered no later than 36 hours before the train’s departure time indicated on the timetable. Assistance devices used by disabled passengers are transported free of charge onboard trains.
An assistant of a disabled passenger may travel free of charge with the disabled person. The assistant shall be capable of assisting the disabled passenger throughout the journey. The assistant shall be over 18 years old. Passenger in a wheelchair does not need any separate certificate for assistants. In other cases, the passenger shall be able to prove the right to an assistant travelling free of charge. In VR’s long-distance traffic, the tickets for the disabled passenger and the assistant shall be purchased at the same time. In VR’s commuter traffic, the person being assisted shall have a valid ticket for the journey.
For passengers travelling with a guide, assistant or hearing dog, VR recommends service carriages for travelling in long-distance trains. In VR’s commuter traffic, guide, assistant or hearing dogs can be taken in any passenger cabin. On night trains, this is possible only in pet cabins booked entirely for the passenger’s use and accessible sleeping cabins. A separate charge is not collected for guide, assistance or hearing dogs.
VR’s live train updates are recorded into a system maintained by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency and compensations are based on information received from the system.
When a train is delayed, compensation may be requested from VR. Rules related to delay compensation have been specified separately for long-distance traffic and commuter traffic.
In addition, compensation for damage caused by delays not exceeding EUR 5,000 may be requested from VR under the Railway Transport Act.
4.1. VR’s long-distance traffic
4.1.1. Compensation or re-routing
If a train service is cancelled or it is anticipated that arrival at the destination station indicated in the ticket will be over 60 minutes late, the passenger may
demand reimbursement of the ticket price for the journey not made and/or for the part or parts already made if the journey is no longer serving any purpose as well as for the potential return journey
continue their journey or be re-routed, under comparable transport conditions, to the final destination at the earliest opportunity
continue their journey or be re-routed, under comparable transport conditions, to the final destination at a later date.
In items 2 and 3, the passenger is entitled to delay compensation defined under section 4.1.2. However, in item 3, the passenger is not entitled to delay compensation for the delay of the original train service.
In case of a delay of 60 minutes or more, VR shall take all reasonable action to assist the passenger. As far as possible and having regard to the waiting time, this action will include the provision of refreshments and meals during the train journey. If necessary, alternative means of transport shall be organised for them.
If the journey cannot be expected to continue during the same day, VR provides reasonable accommodation, including necessary transport.
VR may also offer alternative transport (bus, taxi, etc.).
4.1.2. Compensation amount
If the passenger arrives at the destination indicated on the train ticket with a delay of 60 minutes or more, the passenger is entitled to receive 25% of the ticket price as compensation from VR. For delays of 120 minutes or more, the passenger is entitled to receive 50% of the ticket price as compensation. The compensation amount does not include fees related to additional services (e.g. surcharges related to seats, pets or bikes).
Possible delays in vehicle loading/unloading are not compensated.
4.1.3. Delay certificate
Upon request, the onboard personnel of a delayed train will give the passenger a certificate regarding the delay to be attached to the compensation application.
4.2. Compensation to season ticket holders in case of delays in VR’s commuter traffic
VR’s commuter traffic’s punctuality and operations are monitored by calendar month.
If VR’s commuter train services are cancelled or delayed by more than 10 minutes during a calendar month so that the trains that are cancelled and delayed by more than 10 minutes together constitute more than 10% of the month’s entire service offering, VR grants VR commuter traffic season ticket holders compensation as follows:
14–30-day tickets: if even one day of the season ticket’s validity falls on the calendar month in which more than 10% of the month’s entire service offering is cancelled or delayed by more than 10 minutes, passengers is entitled to a 20% compensation of the 14–30-day ticket price.
31–365-day tickets: if even one day of the season ticket’s validity falls on the calendar month in which more than 10% of the month’s entire service offering is cancelled or delayed by more than 10 minutes, passenger is entitled to a 20% compensation of the 30-day ticket price (delays during one calendar month, i.e. compensation is not paid for longer periods and compensation for delays during a calendar month are compensated only once).
4.3. Compensation for damage caused by delays
VR is liable to compensate passenger for damage caused by a train’s delay, cancellation or not stopping at a traffic point stated in the timetable, at the maximum EUR 5,000 per passenger. However, there is no liability to compensate for a delay that the passenger can reasonably be expected to have anticipated because of the nature of the transport, weather conditions, the time required for transferring to another transport mode or other conditions related to the transport.
To be relieved from liability to compensate, VR is required to prove that it has taken all reasonable measures to prevent the damage.
5. General rules related to compensation, injuries and damage
5.1. Compensation in case of changes to passengers’ situation in life and on the basis of hospital care or long-term illness.
If the passenger becomes unemployed or unable to work, falls ill or changes their permanent residence, place of work or study place so that the season ticket becomes redundant or if passenger receives a free pass, the season ticket’s remaining period of validity will be compensated. Compensation can be requested for the travel period during which the ticket has not been used.
The passenger will receive the compensation upon request from the date when the passenger’s above-mentioned need for the ticket has proved to be ended. Compensation is not paid retroactively for cases other than falling ill.
Reasonable administrative expenses (EUR 10) are deducted from the compensation.
No refund will be paid for unused tickets of the multi ticket.
5.2. Personal injuries
In personal injuries, VR makes statutory advance payments to passengers or their dependants to cover immediate economic needs. The advance payments shall be proportional to the damage caused. VR is liable to the full amount of personal injury.
An amount of EUR 21,000 per passenger will be paid in advance in the case of death. In the case of injury, relevant and reasonable costs up to EUR 21,000 per passenger will be paid in advance.
Advance payments do not constitute recognition of liability and will be offset against any subsequent compensation paid. A demand may be made for the advance payment to be returned if the loss or damage was caused by the negligence or fault of the passenger or where the person who received the advance payment was not the person entitled to compensation.
Upon request, VR shall provide reasonable support for pursuing claims for injury-related compensation against third parties. This support may not conflict with VR’s own interests.
Compensation for personal injuries shall be requested from VR within three years of the moment when the injured party became or should have become aware of the injury. However, compensation shall be requested at the latest within ten years of the injury.
5.3. Loss and damage to property
Under the Rail Traffic Liability Act, VR is liable to the full amount for passenger’s clothes, luggage carried and animals that are damaged.
If the passenger notices, when receiving luggage, any damage to or loss of luggage, the passenger shall inform VR of this when receiving the registered luggage. In other case, the customer shall submit the notification within a reasonable amount of time after receiving the luggage.
The right to compensation is lost if the claim for damages is not submitted in writing to VR within a year or, if the damage has been caused intentionally or due to gross negligence by VR or a party that VR is responsible for, within three years.
Within a month, VR shall provide a response or inform the passenger of the date by which the response can be expected.
5.4. Compensation applications and the processing time
A compensation application form can be found at the vr.fi website. A compensation request can also be submitted at a ticket office or by calling the toll-free service number, after which the customer will be sent a printed compensation application form.
Applications are processed as quickly as possible, as a rule at the latest within one (1) month of receiving the application
VR pays compensation to a bank account or as vouchers. Vouchers may be used to purchase services sold by VR.
Amounts under EUR 4 will not be paid.
6. Applicable legislation
Rail passenger traffic is governed by the following legislation and regulations: a. Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on rail passengers’ rights and obligations (Regulation on railways’ responsibilities)
b. CIV Convention – COTIF (Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail) Appendix A (CIV)
c. national legislation, when it can be applied or its application has been agreed on: for instance,
Railway Transport Act (1119/2000)
Rail Traffic Liability Act (113/1999)
Act on Maintaining Order in Public Transport (472/1977)
Public Transport Penalty Fare Act (469/1979)
Act on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (719/1994)
Government Decree on the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Rail (195/2002)
Firearms Act (1/1998).
A consumer has the right to have a dispute concerning rail travel resolved by the Consumer Disputes Board. For further information, see kuluttajariita.fi.