The first train from Kovel, in Western Ukraine, to Warsaw in Poland, was launched amid huge fanfare 140 years ago. The Polish city of Chelm, at the time, was one of the stops. And now for the first time in the 25 years of Ukraine’s independence, Ukrainians Railways, or Ukrzaliznytsia, has resumed the Kovel-Chelm train.
“This is a manifestation of the good cooperation between our regions. Despite some problems, we can work better and closer with Ukraine. The visa-free movement is also a merit of Poland, as the consular service did everything for this. And we have succeeded. And we together, Ukraine, Poland, and the European Union still have a lot of work to make Ukraine a full member. Then we will live happily,” says Wiesław Mazur, General Consul of the Republic of Poland in Lutsk.
The train has a capacity of 128 passengers. It’s equipped with the latest technology. There is Wi-Fi and air conditioning in the carriages.
“This is the technique of the European model, its speed is 100 km/h, and can accelerate up to 125 km/h. This is a Czech technology, but it is made in Poland. There are closed circuit cameras, external, and video surveillance in the salons, and in each cabin there are cameras,” goes into details Ihor Demkov, Train Engineer.
There were 92 passengers on the first trip to Chelm. 14 of them are going via the visa-free regime and 2 are citizens of Poland. Customs officers and border guards make their rounds from different ends of the cars. It shortens the waiting time significantly. For safety reasons, the train was checked with service dogs. The ticket will cost a bit more than 7 dollars.
“It’s fast to get to Poland. Because it’s very hard now to cross the border on a car, there are long lines. It’s very fast and convenient and does not take much time. Cheaper than a bus, and even better, because the bus also stands far too long. There are huge queues, you stand for 12–15 hours. And this one takes only 2 hours. In any case, it is advantageous,” said Antonina Bystrynska, a passenger.
According to Ukrzaliznytsya, the development of international communication is now a priority. If the train route will become popular, the route will be extended to Rivne, via Lutsk.
Serhiy Mykhalchuk, Ukrzaliznytsia Top Manager shares the future plans:
“Not only the cities of western Ukraine, but the whole country will be covered. These are Poltava, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Mariupol — all the cities, and it will be coordinated with those trains that now go to Poland. Of course, we can not cover all the cities, but with transfers, we will organize full transportation of passengers.”
The new train also plays a big economic role. The holiday season is ahead. And for Poles who love the Shatsk Lakes — this is another convenient and comfortable way to get to them.