The construction of the Eurotrack in Ukraine and Moldova will bring the countries closer to the EU single market

The European Commission (EC) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) presented the first conclusions regarding the strategy for the integration of railway networks of Ukraine, Moldova and the EU. Appropriate research is published on the EC website.

In September 2022, the Directorate General for Mobility and Transport of the EU engaged the EIB Jaspers technical advisory service to develop a preliminary feasibility study of a new EU standard gauge railway corridor that will connect Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Moldova.

Subsequently, the scope of the study expanded to a strategy for the integration of railway networks of Ukraine, Moldova and the EU in order to create a system that is compatible, adapted to the new economic landscape and competitive with other modes of transport.

As the messages of the European Commission stated, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the country’s land transport connection with the European Union became important for Ukrainian imports and exports. Solidarity Lanes (Ukraine-EU Solidarity Lanes) were created to strengthen cross-border ties. The published research is part of the Solidarity Lanes action plan.

Taking into account the likely costs, expected demand and capacity of the line, as a first step the study proposes to establish a European connection between the track Krakow/Katowice (Poland) to Lviv (Ukraine) and Iasi (Romania) to Chisinau (Moldova). In addition, further extensions are offered.

The study also assesses how the new standard gauge lines in Ukraine and Moldova will work with the network of other countries that continue to use broad gauge.

According to the Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean, the construction of the first EU track in Ukraine and Moldova, the connection of the railways of the two countries with Poland and Romania will bring them closer to the single EU market.

«Through this research, we are creating a foundation for lasting, urgent solutions, supporting Ukraine in its post-war trade and reconstruction. Ensuring interoperability from Poland through Ukraine, Moldova and Romania will also mean a smoother and more efficient journey for citizens,» she said.

As director of the International Projects Office of Ukrainian Railways Volodymyr Shemaev explained, the Jaspers team initially studied the Krakow-Lviv-Chernivtsi-Chisinau route, but later realized that it is necessary to look comprehensively at the development of the entire, actually parallel up to 1520 mm Eurorail network in Ukraine and Moldova.

«At the same time, the design of certain sections of 1435 mm in the territory of Ukraine is already underway, in particular, Kovel-Yagodin (with the support of EIB), Rava-Ruska-Bryukhovychy/Lviv (EU), Mostyska-Sknyliv (state budget) and Chop-Uzhgorod (state budget, CEF). It is expected that the projects from the given indicative plan will be eligible for grant co-financing from EU funds in the future,» Shemaev writes.

As GMK Center reported earlier, Ukraine plans to build a section of Eurotrack to Poland by the end of 2023. The railway section will provide direct access for Ukrainian goods from Warsaw to Lviv, and later to Kyiv.