Juha Vierros, Skoda

Who are you and what is your role at Škoda Group?
My name is Juha Vierros and I am the head of Škoda Group Region North.

What kind of company is Škoda Group?
Škoda Group is owned by PPF Group and is a leading manufacturer of vehicles for public transport. Our Smart Artic trams have become symbols in the cities where they operate, and we are particularly proud of the comfort of our new night train concept, especially given the renaissance that night train travel is currently experiencing.

Why has Škoda Group decided to participate in Train & Rail?
We consider Sweden to be one of our home markets and we have just opened an office in Stockholm. Therefore, it was natural to participate in Train & Rail and continue the dialogue we have with our current and potential customers. It is through dialogue that we can offer the best possible solution for a city and ultimately its residents.

What is Škoda Group's goal with Train & Rail?
Our goal is to have an open conversation with the Nordic market. We listen very carefully to our customers' needs and desires, but we also have a need to explain our design solutions. Through dialogue, we can develop reliable vehicles that meet the operators' as well as the users' needs, for example in sustainability, safety, and comfort.

What is the most important question from your perspective for the railways of the future?
Urbanization will continue and cities need to develop. Land use becomes an increasingly important factor, but at the same time, the focus must be on sustainability and the effects of climate change. We need to get people from the road to the railway to increase transport capacity and at the same time reduce the carbon footprint. To achieve these goals, trams and trains must be reliable, economical to operate, and comfortable to ride. But that's not enough. We must also collaborate to develop systems and smooth transport chains, from home to final destination. The whole journey must be easy to accomplish, even if it may involve different modes of transport and potential transfers during the journey.

What do industry colleagues and decision-makers need to do to better deliver future railway transport to society?
We need collaboration, open dialogue, and common understanding. We must have a shared vision of what we want to achieve. A growing problem is the status of infrastructure. While decision-makers propose high-speed rail connections, basic resources and investments are lacking for the railway infrastructure that is the backbone of the entire railway operation. The scarce maintenance resources must be used more efficiently. It's not just about absolute speed but about the individual's total travel time.