A delegation from the Global Ukraine Rail Task Force (GURTF) visited Kyiv on January 11 to present the Trade Union of Ukraine Railway Workers with a symbolic cheque for €130,000, equivalent to the value of food parcels purchased following recent GURTF fundraising efforts, and which are currently being delivered to Ukraine railway workers and their families.

The CEO of Ukrainian Railways (UZ), Mr Yevhen Lyashchenko, and the CEO of UZ’s Passenger Rail division, Mr Alexander Pertsovskyi, received the cheque from Mr Nick Brooks, Mr Jon McGrath and Mr Tim Hollaway of the GURTF.

More than £106,000 (€124,000) of these funds were raised from donations from British private-sector passenger train operating companies, freight operating companies, and other industry colleagues during the Rail Partners with Ukraine fundraiser held in September 2023.

Rail Partners chief executive, Mr Andy Bagnall, travelled to Kyiv as part of the delegation along with Mr Steve Montgomery, managing director of First Rail, and Mr David Brown, managing director of Arriva Trains.

Among the other significant financial supporters were railway companies in the United States as well as Norwegian infrastructure manager Bane Nor and Swedish national operator SJ.

The aid delivery was arranged by the charity WE Aid and distributed to individual workers and their families by the Trade Union of Railway Workers and Transport Builders of Ukraine.

The food packages consist of a variety of essentials such as oil, sugar, flour, salt, pasta, rice, corn and wheat cereals, canned fish and meat, pate, tea, and biscuits, all sourced in Ukraine. Some of the funding has also paid for household cleaning products for rail workers living in temporary accommodation.

“It’s important for us to continue to raise awareness of UZ’s struggle and to show solidarity with rail colleagues there,” Bagnall says. “We need to highlight what they are achieving in very difficult circumstances - and encourage colleagues across the railway and beyond to continue to help support them.”

GURTF is now turning its attention to further fundraising to support the transport of urgent medical supplies from around the world to UZ’s medical facilities located on the frontline in Ukraine. GURTF encourages anyone interested in donating to do so via the secure payment platform of its verified charity partner, WE Aid/United Way. Click here to access the platform.