In connection with the fierce fighting in the Donbas, additional wagons were added to the evacuation train from the city of Pokrovsk in the west of the Donetsk region.
Now, these are the only trains that carry out the evacuation since, by May, the demand in other regions of Ukraine had fallen significantly. However, at the beginning of the war, almost all the capacities of Ukrzaliznytsia were used to save people.
Socportal writes about how the evacuation occurred and what part of the infrastructure UZ lost due to the war.
How many Ukrainians were evacuated by train?
Before the war, UZ accounted for a third of all passenger traffic, and in the first months of the Russian invasion, it took on half the flow of refugees. 4 million people, half a million of them left Ukraine.
Most people left the two largest cities - Kyiv and Kharkiv. And the main points of arrival were Lviv, Uzhhorod, as well as the eastern countries of the EU.
Why UZ has become the main transport for evacuation
In terms of the length of the tracks, UZ ranks 14th in the world. The developed railway infrastructure made it possible to continue work even in extreme conditions.
As you know, 10-15 people could ride in standard four-seater compartments. However, the peculiarities of railway communication made it possible to withstand such congestion, even given the significant wear and tear of the rolling stock.
It is also essential that all evacuation trains are accessible.
What losses did Ukrzaliznytsia suffer due to the war
According to the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, a quarter of the railway network has been lost as of May. UZ's primary income source of freight transportation decreased by 60-65%. The main reason is the blocking of seaports by the Russian invaders.
Regarding passenger traffic, about 20 stations are currently not working, mainly in the Donbas, the Kharkiv region, and southern Ukraine.
Also, the railway infrastructure is periodically subjected to rocket attacks in many regions of Ukraine.
The most bloody episode was the attack on the railway station in the city of Karamatorsk on the morning of April 8, when hundreds of citizens hurried to evacuate. Then 57 people died. The next day, in memory of the dead, Ukrzaliznytsia left some seats empty on trains that were not involved in the evacuation. Flowers were placed on them.
Among the dead on April 8 were also two UZ workers. And according to data, at the end of May, since the beginning of the war, 118 railway workers have died in the line of duty or during mobilization in the army.
And yet, on that tragic day, it was possible to organize a successful evacuation of 11 trains. And the services of Ukrainian railways are used by numerous politicians and celebrities who visit our country. In the telegram channel of UZ, under the hashtag #zal_zna_diplomatiya, publishes a photo with distinguished guests.
And also, UZ is a source of information about popular moods and the basis for folklore. According to Vladimir, a passenger on the evacuation train, on the first day of the war, a woman went with him to a border village to pick up children:
She constantly called them on the phone. The children said they saw how the UAF destroyed the bridge. Then the Russians arrived in tanks and asked the children how to get to the city. Their children were sent to the road with the destroyed bridge, and then they began to write online about the whereabouts of Russian tanks. Our column moved out of the city. The Russians could not get ahead and had to flee abroad.
After the end of hostilities, Ukrzaliznytsia promises to organize routes for the return of Ukrainians home.