An aerial photo of the Helsinki Metro

Helsinki City Transport had the right to cancel Metro automation agreements, according to District Court

The Helsinki District Court issued an interim decision on 31 March 2020 in the proceedings related to the automation of the Helsinki area Metro system. According to the interim decision, Helsinki City Transport (HKL) had the right to cancel the agreements made with Siemens on the automation of the Metro system, with the exception of the agreement on the automation of the Metro depot extension. The Helsinki District Court considers that the delays in the automation project were due to circumstances that were within the scope of the responsibilities of Siemens. The interim decision cannot be appealed. This means that the District Court will continue the proceedings by considering financial claims next.  

“The District Court’s decision is a positive development from society’s perspective. The court decision confirms that the cancellation of the agreements in 2015 were made on the basis of a correct assessment. HKL is highly satisfied with the fact that there is now a District Court ruling in the question concerning the right to cancel the agreements,” comments Helsinki City Transport CEO Ville Lehmuskoski

The interim decision mainly concerns only the question whether HKL and Länsimetro Oy (the company that owns and builds the West Metro) had the right to cancel the Metro automation agreements made with Siemens. The decision does not include consideration of damages claimed by the parties or consideration of other financial claims.  

Despite the unambiguous right to cancel the agreements, the District Court expresses in the decision its view that HKL should not have continued to use the parts of the system delivered by Siemens.  

“Immediately after the agreements were cancelled, HKL initiated procurement to replace the Siemens equipment, and the content of this procurement was commissioned in early 2019,” Lehmuskoski says.  

The background to the court proceedings is an agreement signed in 2008 and cancelled in 2015 on the automation of the Helsinki Metro. The project aimed at the automation of the Metro was launched in 2009, and parts of the system were installed.  

As the project was extended, HKL and Länsimetro Oy cancelled the agreements made with Siemens. According to the interim decision now issued, the District Court states that the original view of HKL and Länsimetro Oy on the justification of cancelling the agreements was correct as far as the main arguments are concerned.  

“We allow the District Court to continue its work and currently focus on securing HKL’s core operations, that is, tram and Metro transport, in these exceptional times in society. Morally the District Court ruling at this particular time gives us support in our efforts to handle a critical task in terms of the functioning of society,” Lehmuskoski states.