UKRAINIAN Railways (UZ) reopened two lines to the Polish border totalling 68.3km on February 17 after a modernisation project, which the CEO of UZ, Mr Oleksandr Kamyshin, says took less than a year despite the difficulties his country is facing.

The first refurbished line links Khyriv to the border station at Starzhava to the southwest, where cross-border passenger traffic from Poland last operated in 2010. The other line runs north to another crossing on the border with Poland at Nyzhankovychi. The line from Khyriv running east to Sambir, on a route to the city of Lviv, has also been refurbished.

Of the 68.3km of rebuilt sections of line, 29.5km has been laid to the 1520mm gauge used on most of the Ukrainian rail network, while 8.6km is to the 1435mm standard gauge used in Poland and 30.2km is laid with dual gauge track. In addition, 10 bridges, nine buildings and four platforms were overhauled as part of the project and improvement work was also carried out a Nizhankovychy, Starzhava and Khyriv stations.

Local cross-border services operated by Polish Railways (PKP) using 1435mm and dual gauge track are expected to start once approval has been received from the Ukrainian cabinet. Agreement was reached in January 2022 between Polish and Ukrainian officials for local cross-border services to be developed that run from the Polish towns of Malchowice and Kroszenko using the two lines. 

The refurbished lines in Ukraine will also reduce the rail travel distance between the Polish border towns of Kroszenko, Bieszczady County, and Przemyśl. Travelling via Khyriv in Ukraine will reduce the rail journey from 269km to 53km. Travelling via Khyriv will also reduce travel times between several counties of the Subcarthian Voivodship in the southeast of Poland.

The January 2023 edition of IRJ included a round-up of cross-border rail projects in Ukraine and progress with integrating the country’s rail network with its neighbours to the west. Digital subscribers can read the article here.