This article first appeared in the Railway-News Magazine Issue 4 2023.
Škoda Group’s railroad car factory in Otanmäki, Finland, is an undeniable pride of the Finnish industry.
All the stunning trams that make the lives of thousands of Finns easier and happier are manufactured there.
For example, all Tampere and newer Helsinki trams started their journey in Otanmäki.
That is why many of us must be thinking: how on earth can this big rail industry factory be located this deep in Finland’s wilderness?
Škoda Group’s Finnish business unit is officially named Škoda Transtech Oy, which originates from Otanmäki, an urban area in Kajaani, northern Finland. Otanmäki was born in the 1950s around an iron ore mine, which was in operation in the area until the mid-1980s.
The mine was originally owned by the state-owned company Otanmäki Oy, from which it was transferred in the 1960s to another state-owned company, Rautaruukki. The story of the railroad car factory practically begins where the life cycle of the mine ended.
Therefore, the first steps of the current Škoda Transtech took place in 1985, when Rautaruukki founded a railcar factory in Otanmäki called Transtech Oy to fix the employment situation in the area after the mining activity had subsided.
The business idea was nearly flawless for that time because the backlog was supposed to match the endless Soviet Union railway equipment needs. However, the stars aligned in a position where the entire trade partner country collapsed, and the Finns had to make a new plan.
The difficulties began to ease gradually in the late 1990s when VR (the state railway company) started renewing its equipment and ordering stock from Otanmäki.
Finally, after a few ownership changes, the factory found its current owner Škoda Group in 2015, and the name was also changed to Škoda Transtech Oy after the parent company.
Railway-News magazine Issue 1, February 2023: FinnProfiles - Sealing Solution Manufacturer, FinnProfiles, Is Also Taking Over the Moulding Business!
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