Cross vehicle harmonization

Case study: cross-vehicle harmonization

brief facts

Route: Multiple routes, Multiple vehicle types, Finland
Number of cars: 600+
Deliveries: 1987-2014
Scope of supply: Train Communication and Management System (TCMS), Train Communication Network (TCN)

VR CoachesLocosCompatibility Sketch
Illustration: VR-Group Ltd vehicle compatibility thanks to Trainnet® 

project highlights

VR-Group Ltd is the state-owned railway company in Finland. Its fleet consist of different vehicle types purchased along the years to answer demand. Like for most operators, coaches and locomotives from different manufacturers and of different generations are operated daily. For many operators, the fleet heterogeneity prevents cars to be 100% compatible with each other, hindering the capabilities and flexibility of operations.

At VR-Group on the contrary, special attention has been given to coaches and locos compatibility. Since the 80s, Trainnet® is used on board of all VR-Group cars. By using Trainnet® systems in all cars, VR-Group ensures compatibility. As all cars use compatible Trainnet® communication network and the same TCMS architecture logic, various coaches and locomotives can be connected and communicate smoothly. This means VR-Group has the flexibility to associate any coaches and locos at any given time, regardless of the loco or coach type. Also, it ensures a consistent experience for the train crew and drivers: they only need to use one single system, making it easier and faster to master.

In practice, even if all coaches and locos are compatible, they can have different sub-systems and functionalities. For instance, some coaches are not equipped with PIS displays while new restaurant coaches and control coaches have PIS displays. Different bus technologies are used to carry on the information throughout the train: Trainnet III and WTB train backbone are currently in use as shown in the illustration above. Ethernet is already available as an option in steering coaches, restaurant coaches and locomotives to anticipate future needs. This illustrates how VR-Group can smoothly operate cars of different generation. Older coaches can of course be upgraded to new generation systems when needed. This can be done with minimal efforts as a significant portion of the older system would typically be kept and used as part of the new system.


VR CoachesLocosCompatibility Sketch2
Illustration: VR-Group Ltd vehicle option for further compatibility in the future


By using the Trainnet® system in all cars, VR-Group ensures car compatibility and becomes more agile: they can adjust better to changing demand or forced cars immobilization. This is also an advantage to maximize cost-efficiency by expanding fleet lifespan and reducing the need for train reshuffling. Finally Trainnet® modularity and flexibility make it easy for VR-Group to regularly upgrade the systems across the entire fleet in order to keep up with the latest technology and features.

Read more about:

→ Train Control and Management System (TCMS)
→ Train Communication Network (TCN)



EKE-Electronics Ltd
Piispanmäentie 5
02240 Espoo
Tel +358 9 6130 30