KYIV, UKRAINE (Metro Rail News): Infrastructure Minister Vladyslav Krikliy on Monday said that the construction process will begin on the first part of a 2,000 kilometer network of high-speed railway tracks across Ukraine, reported Kyiv post.
The project envisages a speed of up to 250km/hr, accomplishing the journey in “three to four hours” once the network gets ready to use, said the President Volodymyr Zelensky during his opening remarks at the All-Ukrainian Forum Ukrainian 30.
Currently, Intercity high-speed trains take 14 hours to complete the 1,000-kilometer trip between Lviv and Kharkiv. The highest speed of such types of trains is 160 km/hr.
The initial step in this project will be to set-up a high-speed track of 80 km from the Polish border to western Lviv’s Sknyliv station, near the Lviv airport. This would pave the way for travel to and from Poland without adjournments at the border caused by the numerous gauge of European and Ukrainian railways.
Deputy chairman of the supervisory board of Ukrzaliznytsia, Oleg Zhuravlov, said that similar projects would cost $1 billion which Ukrzaliznytsia does not have.
“This project is absolutely realistic for Ukraine. But not without financing from the state and international investment,” added Zhuravlov.
He emphasised that this project is important for Ukraine.
Ukraine’s high-speed rail network would enable the trains operating between the Kyiv-Lviv-Polish border, from Kyiv to Odesa, between Kyiv and Kharkiv and along the Kyiv-Dnipro-Zaporizhia line.
“For the first time in 30 years, a sum of Hr 4 billion has been allocated from the state budget to improve passenger service, including 100 new train carriages, electrification, and a high-speed rail,” said the Infrastructure Minister Krikliy.
Much of Ukraine’s 40,000 kilometers of passenger and freight train railways have been dilapidated.
Transport comprises nearly 6% of Ukraine’s GDP.
Krikliy stated, “Improving infrastructure in several areas has a much greater multiplier effect than in one. That is why it is important to develop them.”
“Perhaps 2014 and the war would have never happened. When people communicate, when they are stitched together by railways, it is a completely different country,” Krikliy further said.
South Korea’s Hyundai Corporation plans to execute the project
Ukraine’s relationship with Hyundai has not been on good terms in the past.
Hyundai contemplates starting negotiations with South Korea’s government and multilateral lenders to gain financing in its hands for a major part of track construction and for 10 high speed trains, according to Eun Soo Choi, Hyundai’s vice president for commercial transport.
“We are ready to provide financing for several projects,” said Choi.
He added that Hyundai will set aside $2 million for a pre-feasibility study for the high-speed rail network.
In 2012, Ukraine procured 10 high-speed intercity electric trains manufactured by Hyundai Rotem, the South Korean company’s rolling stock manufacturing unit. Ukraine had spent $30 million for each train.
Post non-operations due to weather conditions in Ukraine, Ukraine’s state-owned railway monopoly Ukrzaliznytsia had taken off all high-speed intercity routes on the 10 Hyundai trains in February, 2014.
Hyundai had confronted the series of warnings regarding penalties from Ukrainian government and then paid for repairs and the high-speed trains restarted service by the end of the summer of 2014.
As of today, all 10 Hyundai Intercity high-speed trains run on three different routes.
Amidst all the chaos between each other, Ukraine’s government bought two high-speed trains from the Ukrainian company Kryukiv Trains, including them to the intercity train inventory.
Since 2012, these trains have been on track. However, without any market demand for them, they were unproductive until the purchase in 2014.