The rest of Finland was caught by surprise as snow disrupted traffic in Helsinki – here's the reasons behind the chaos

Problems with public transport in Helsinki piled up into chaos on Tuesday, surprising many.

Winter surprised Helsinki again on Tuesday. This caused a traffic jam.

Trams were not running, buses were stuck like a pig train, cars were buried in theaters and some Stadt residents resorted to skiing.

Especially outside the capital region, some of Iltalehti's readers were surprised and amused by the situation: How can Finland not cope with winter weather?

– It's unbelievable, a resident of Lappeenranta wondered that if it snows again in the Helsinki area after this winter, chaos will always be ready.

Another reader pointed out that the rise didn't even come as a surprise.

– If the forecast is clear that there will be snow, it happens every year, so you don't know how to prepare for a winter wonderland?

When traffic jams occur, public traffic jams occur. Outti Jarvinen / K.L

Stick to the little one

Director of Koupungilikenne oi Maintenance Division responsible for Helsinki's trams and transport infrastructure Anti Vigilius Rather than conditions, TRAM tells us that the core of the traffic problem is the timing of conditions.

Similar weather would not have caused a similar trolley stop in winter.

– Not even last week, says Vigilius.

The biggest problem is freezing rain that freezes the wires.

In winter, the fibers can be melted with glycerol, but the wagon used to spread the material was converted this week to suit summer work.

– April is already an active time for track work and construction, Vigilius says, and equipment must be available to support these jobs.

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The weather on Tuesday was confirmed to be worse than expected on Monday, but by then, according to Vigilius, it was already too late to make the maintenance wagon fit for winter work again.

– It usually takes two days. It was judged that it was not worth changing any longer, as the weather would have time to change for the better by evening.

According to Vigilius, more maintenance equipment is available for Kaupungilikenne Oi as the rail network expands.

Very slippery

The problems of bus transportation are not explained by the undercarriage, but neither are the summer tires. Buses use the same tires throughout the year.

Some of Iltalehti's readers wondered how the foggy weather and slippery conditions are still messing up bus traffic.

– How many days this year already had similar weather? Unfathomable nonsense, wrote one reader.

Thuja Ruho HSL's communication agrees that traffic chaos is an appropriate expression to describe the situation on Tuesday. However, he could not find a single reason for what had happened.

Ruho reckons it's a combination of a number of things. Generally when traffic slows down, it is reflected in everything.

– In addition to public transport, passenger car transport and transit transport. There were vehicles both transversely and longitudinally.

While buses may be able to pass, for example, a passenger car skidding on slippery summer tires may not be possible if the road is blocked.


Trains were also completely canceled due to HSL buses running late.

One of the operators operating HSL's routes is Koviston Auto Helsinki Oi. The company's CEO, Mika Seppänen, insists that he can only speak about the situation on Tuesday regarding Koviston Auto, and not other operators.

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Seppanen says two company cars were involved in an accident on Tuesday. Otherwise, the day would have gone on normally, had traffic permitted.

When this was not allowed, trains were delayed and departures had to be canceled as cars got stuck in traffic.

– Yes, cars run late when traffic is at a standstill. However, the problem is not so bad that we can't run the cars, Seppanen says.

He estimated that part of the traffic congestion was due to deficiencies in road maintenance. Seppanen's point is clear about motorists who go into winter weather with summer tires.

– Of course, the irresponsible act of a person in traffic and using the road to go with summer tires in such weather. That's why public transport exists.

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