Z Is For Zuge.


Zuge is Helsinki slang for a train. In standard Finnish train is juna and in standard Swedish tåg. The z is pronounced ts in Finnish, like in German, but a bit more lazily.

Helsinki slang takes its vocabulary from many sources. Some words come from Swedish, English or Russian. Zuge comes probably from the German word for train, Zug. Old Helsinki slang was to a great extent a mixture of Finnish and Swedish, which was understood by both Finnish and Swedish speaking working-class youth. Now the slang is much more influenced by English.

I’m not really in the slang speaking demographic, being a bit too old and not born and raised in Helsinki.

All the train pictures here are electric multiple unit trains, with no locomotive. Except for the Pendolino high-speed train leaving Helsinki Central Railway station in a cloud of snow, all are regional trains operating in the Capital Region and its surroundings. The Pendolino is a long-distance train with a somewhat troubled history. The Italian technology has had a lot of problems with snow and frost.

The red train is an old Sm2 regional train made by Valmet Lentokonetehdas (Valmet Airplane Factory). The other train photographed from the same place on the Linnunlaulu bridge is a Sm4 regional train used for longer regional lines. In the summer picture from Vantaankoski station in Vantaa, the train is a Sm5, which is used for the shorter lines in the Capital Region.

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© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    rq @ 1

    Yes, I like to travel by rail. Much smoother and quieter ride than in diesel buses.

  2. Ice Swimmer says

    Nightjar, thank you! Of the pictures taken that day (Easter Day 2018), that was the only one I liked when I was editing these.

    The more sunny snowy shots were taken next day and the summer photo from Vantaankoski is a few years old, from the time when that station still was an end station.

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