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General information about railway transport

Railway transport of Ukraine is the leading branch in the road transport of the country, provides 82% of freight and about 50% of passenger transportations carried out by all types of transport.

The operational network of railways in Ukraine is about 19,8 thousand km without taking into account occupied territories, network of which is currently not exploited), 47,2% of which is electrified. In terms of cargo traffic, Ukraine's railway is the fourth on the Eurasian continent after China, Russia and India railways. The freight-traffic of Ukrainian Railways (annual volume of traffic per 1 km) is 3-5 times higher than in European countries.

Ukraine rail transport system is enhanced in main trans-European transport corridors (East – West, Baltic Sea – Black Sea).

Ukrainian railway directly borders and cooperates with railways of Russia, Byelorussia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and ensures the work with 40 international railway cross-walks, and also serves 18 Ukrainian seaports of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov basin.

Three railway corridors – № 3, 5, 9 – go through the territory of Ukraine. The interaction with the pan-European corridor № 7, which goes through Danube river is carried out through Ukrainian ports Izmail and Reni. Today, length of rail transit corridors in Ukraine is 3162 km. These are mainly two-track electrified, equipped with automatic blocking systems railways, characterized by high use of technical facilities. Moreover, transportation through the international transport corridor TRACECA (Europe - Caucasus – Asia) is developing.

The largest company within the industry is Ukrzaliznytsya (State Administration of Railway Transport of Ukraine), which provides centralized management of internal and international transportation process and regulates business-activity of the railways.

The management sphere of Ukrzaliznytsia covers the railways of Donetsk, Lviv, Odessa, Pivdenna (Southern),  Pivdenno-Zakhidna (Southwestern)  and Pridniprovska Railways, and also other enterprises and organizations of integrated industrial-engineering complex, that provides freight and passengers transportation.

Inventory fleet of passenger cars consists of 4.6 thousand units, including working fleet - 3.1 thousand units. Also there is high-speed electric trains «Hyundai» - 10 units; high-speed electric trains "Tarpan" - 2 units; inter-regional trains of locomotive traction - 2 units. 

The total park of freight wagons is 82.5 thousand units. From the existing part of freight cars, the working park is 62.9 thousand units.

Inventory park of locomotives consists of 3.9 thousand units, including: electric locomotives - 1.7 thousand units; diesel locomotives - 2,2 thousand units.

Until recently, Ukraine Railways supplied the needs of the economy and population in transportation. This was achieved mainly due to the abundance of technical capacity created in the USSR by central funding. For the last 20 years, investments in the renewal of fixed assets have occurred exclusively at the own expense of railway that do not even allow normal reproduction of fixed assets, especially their active parts – rolling stock. Today, the technical resource of railways is almost expired. There is a threat that in the future railway will not be able to provide needs of the economy of Ukraine in transportation.

During the years 1992-2015, the growth rate of prices for consumable goods exceeded the growth rates of tariffs for transportation,  that did not allow to update rolling stock and infrastructure at the own expense of railways. Funds, budgeted by the Law of Ukraine "On Railway Transport" (Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine № 274/96-BP of 04.07.96), for the construction and modernization of tracks and the acquisition of rolling stock for passenger transportation were not allocated. Practically no funds were allocated from the local budgets for the purchase of electric and diesel trains to transport passengers in commuter connections, losses from social-needed commuter passenger services were not fully compensated.

The capacity of certain sections and directions is at critical point. In order to eliminate "bottlenecks" in the network of railways of Ukraine and to improve technical and operational capabilities of infrastructure objects it is necessary to conduct their technical re-equipment and modernization.

Due to the catastrophic depreciation of the rolling stock, discrepancy between the acquisition and write-off of freight cars and locomotives, there is a threat to meet the needs of industrial sectors of economy in transportation of cargo, with corresponding costs to the state budget and lower rates of economic development of the country.

The reserves of the capacity are almost exhausted by extreme deterioration and low productivity of passenger rolling stock. Failure to take effective measures to renew the passenger rolling stock will lead to inability to perform passenger transport in full and, consequently, reduced mobility of the population.

Key issues to be solved:

  • increasing the capacity of the railway network of Ukraine;
  • renovation and modernization of fixed assets;
  • technical and technological backwardness of Ukrainian railways from European railways;
  • lack of own sources for renewing capital assets, lack of state support for innovative development of railway sector and low level of investment attractiveness in terms of attracting investments, that lead to extreme physical deterioration and nonconformance of technical equipment of railways to modern requirements;
  • insufficient level of competition in the market of transport services provision and inconsistency with European requirements for access to the market of transport services;
  • the necessity of the reform of "Ukrzaliznytsya", ensuring transparency of its activities through the formation of a vertically integrated management system of the company, building its activities in accordance with the principles declared in the EU directives;
  • performance of public and social functions (transportation of privileged passengers, maintenance of low-active unprofitable lines) by railways in combination with regulated by government low tariffs for passenger transportation and lack of effective mechanism of compensation of losses from providing socially important services significantly limits the technical and technological modernization of railways opportunities, leads to cross-financing of loss-making passenger transportation by cargo transportation, which is contrary to the requirements of EU directives.

According to the Regulation, the main function of the Ministry of Infrastructure in the field of rail transport is to ensure development and implementation of state policy in accordance with the law.

The Order of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of 21.03.2011 № 265 "Issues of Management of State Property by the Ministry of Infrastructure " contains a list of companies, institutions and organizations managed by the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine.

Also one of the tasks of the Ministry of Infrastructure is to ensure control on issues related to safe operation and development of subway network.