By the end of the year, Ukraine wants to build the first European railroad to connect Warsaw and Lviv. The next sections will be built in the direction of Kyiv.
Ukraine is going to build European railroad tracks to the Polish border by the end of 2023. This will allow direct trains to connect Warsaw and Lviv, RP.PL reports. The first section is already under construction. The tracks will run from the Ukrainian city of Rava-Ruska to the Polish village of Hrebenne.
“By the end of 2023, we will extend this section to Lviv on the existing wide gauge. In the future, this will make it possible to run direct trains from Warsaw to Lviv without changes of station and chassis,” said Volodymyr Shemayev, director of the international projects office at Ukrzaliznytsia.
Ukraine’s state railways operator Ukrzaliznytsia hopes that such changes will help relieve the rail lines and increase the number of train trips.
There are also plans to build new tracks from Krakow to Lviv through the Polish village of Medyky and from Dorohusk through Yahodyn to Kovel. Although this will only extend the standard railroad a few tens of kilometers into the interior of Ukraine, it will connect the European railroad system with important railroad junctions and cargo transshipment points.
Problems of connecting the Ukrainian and European railways
The railroad tracks in Ukraine and Poland have different gauges, which creates some challenges for cross-border transportation. The main railroad network in Ukraine uses a broad-gauge track that is 1520 mm wide. Meanwhile, in Poland and most EU countries, the standard rail track gauge is narrower, with a width of 1435 mm. This difference in gauge creates a break in the transportation system at the border between Ukraine and Poland.
In November 2022, it was reported that Ukraine plans to switch to the standard gauge used in the EU, which would involve converting its existing broad-gauge network to the narrower gauge. This change would require significant investment and time but could provide long-term benefits by facilitating cross-border transportation and trade.
Recently, Ukraine launched its first train to Romania after a 17-year pause.