RAIL industry officials in Europe and the United States have formed the multinational Support Ukraine Rail Task Force to coordinate technical, mechanical and policy support for Ukrainian rail freight and passenger companies.

The task force says there needs to be more trains collecting refugees from the Ukrainian border and the other hubs including Warsaw, Prague, Vienna and Frankfurt (Oder). An early objective will be to provide a forum for governmental organisations and passenger and rail freight associations to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the most effective ways to support the Ukrainian rail sector.

Ms Joelene Molitoris, former Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) administrator in the United States, will join Mr Nick Brooks, secretary general of the Alliance of Rail New Entrants in Europe (AllRail), Mr Ray Chambers, president of the American Association for Innovative Passenger Rail Operations (AIPRO), Mr Robert VanderClute, former senior vice president of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and former vice-chair of the International Union of Railways (UIC), Mr Jon M McGrath, president and CEO of McGrath Rail and former chairman of the United States National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association, and Mr Charles Hague, former national director government affairs and vice president labour outreach at AIPRO on the task force.

The task force also claims that some countries including Austria, Germany and Poland have awarded contracts for dedicated evacuation trains to a subset of rail operators that have required several days to get started. Instead, the task force says that contracts should be made available to all operators that have available stock.

An in-depth report into the industry’s response to the invasion will be published in the April edition of IRJ.