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The first railway in Finland opened in 1862 between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna. At that time, Finland was part of the Russian Empire, so the line was built to the Russian gauge of 1524mm (now 1520mm) in anticipation of its eventual connection with the rest of the Russian network. The remainder of the Finnish main line network was developed to the same gauge, which it retains today.

Finland has international rail connections with Russia and also with Sweden, via a bridge over the River Tornio opened on 1919. This involves a break of gauge necessitating the transhipment of through freight, and of passengers until passenger services ceased in 1988. Proposals exist for automatic gauge changing freight wagons to facilitate through freight operation between Sweden, Finland and neghbouring countries.

A feasibility study has been conducted into the construction of a new undersea rail tunnel connecting the Finnish rail network with that of Estonia.

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Flag image from CIA World Factbook