Summer 2018 will mark the three-year anniversary of the opening of Helsinki Airport’s train station to passenger traffic. The station enabled passengers to reach the airport via the Ring Rail Line, the Helsinki metropolitan area’s commuter train railway.
There are currently two routes from the train station to the ground level: one that takes you to the airport parking area and another one that takes you to the passageway between terminals 1 and 2. A third connection is set to open by 2021, when the extension of terminal 2 will be completed.
“The new connection will shorten the route to terminal 2 approximately by a fifth of what it is now, which means that the walk will take a few minutes less. As a result, it will be easier to combine rail travel and flying,” says Henri Hansson, Technical Director at Finavia.
Link to the new multimodal travel centre
As part of Helsinki Airport's development programme, the new multimodal travel centre will be built in front of the airport’s new main entrance, next to the forthcoming terminal. The travel centre will connect air traffic with various modes of public transportation. A faster connection from the railway to the ground level will connect passengers with not only air traffic but also with the travel centre and its services.
“There are already some 20,000 jobs in the airport area, and the number will rise by up to 10,000 in a few years. Smooth travel chains make the area more attractive, which can mean new jobs, headquarters and international meetings. This is a big deal for us,” Hansson says.
Visions of a "Flight Rail"
Finavia is also envisioning an additional railway connection to the airport in the future – the so-called flight rail. With the Flight Rail, it would be possible to reach the airport directly from all over Finland and from, for example, St. Petersburg, without transferring to a commuter train.
“In practice, the flight rail tracks would go underground in Northern Pasila, run to the airport and then rise above ground again in Kerava. This would also add rail capacity,” says Hansson.
Finavia has discussed the scenario with the Finnish Transport Agency, but the government has not yet decided on making the investment.
“This is a plan for the long run, but we are hoping it will become reality in the near future. The change would clearly improve our service and link the Helsinki area, and especially international flight connections, to the rest of VisiFinland.”
Tunnel to Tallinn could also run underneath the terminal
In this scenario, the flight rail station would be located underneath the terminal and on the same level as the Ring Rail Line. With the opening of the third passage to the train station, Finavia is planning on building a reserve for the flight rail connection.
“We are doing this to be on the safe side, so when the flight rail is built, access to the terminal can be drilled,” Hansson explains.
According to Hansson, the hypothetical tunnel to Tallinn, which has been under discussion lately, could also be located under the terminal, if it is realised in the future.