Austria, Germany and Poland step up support for Ukrainian Railways

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A joint statement of solidarity and support for Ukraine was signed by the CEO of the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), Mr. Andreas Matthä, the CEO of Deutsche Rail (DB), Dr. Richard Lutz, and the CEO of Polish Railways (PKP), Mr. Krzysztof Mamiński. , which will see these railways provide technical equipment and spare parts to support the reconstruction of Ukrainian Railways (UZ).

The statement was signed ahead of a two-day CEO summit hosted in Vienna last week by the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER).

DB says it is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for the UZ workforce worth €500,000 and will also provide technical expertise.

The German public operator is also examining the feasibility of supplying passenger cars to UZ, but stresses that they would need to be converted from standard to broad gauge.

DB, ÖBB and PKP are lobbying the European Union (EU) to set up a Ukraine reconstruction fund to repair the war-damaged UZ network as soon as possible.

The UZ network should also be further integrated into the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), notably through the development of new corridors to connect Ukraine and Moldova to the EU rail network.

These corridors would greatly facilitate the export of agricultural products that are currently stored in Ukraine due to the lack of onward transportation, as well as the movement of ores, steel and machinery.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, DB says 450,000 refugees have used the free train journeys provided in Germany, which are now also available digitally.

Intermodal block trains transported aid to Ukraine, including food, drinking water, generators and first aid kits, via Krakow in Poland directly to terminals near Kyiv. DB reports that 400 container loads were delivered by rail and another 400 by road.

DB and UZ have found new routes for bulk cargo such as grain, iron ore and sunflower oil. Containers were delivered to the EU via ports on the Black Sea and in Poland.

In Germany, DB helps refugees from Ukraine find work through a helpline and counseling centers set up in Berlin, Cologne and Frankfurt with the Federal Employment Agency. The program also includes orientation and language courses. Over the past three months, more than 1,500 interviews have taken place and firm job offers have been made to 30 refugees for positions as interpreters, engineers and recruitment coordinators.

“Ukrainian railway workers are currently doing something impressive,” says Lutz. “They move the country forward. Despite repeated attacks on roads and stations, operations continue.

“Because only a functioning railway system will be the key to the future reconstruction of the country, Ukraine needs sufficient financial resources and integration into TEN-T alongside the EU admission process.”

“The transportation of passengers and goods, so important for our country, is carried out by rail,” says Ukrainian Ambassador to Austria, Mr. Vasyl Khymynets. “I am therefore very grateful that Ukrainian Railways has been widely supported by other European railways since the beginning of the terrible war and that with this statement there is now a new joint commitment from CER.”


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