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This event welcomed senior representatives of the railway industry for a unique reception in aid of the Global Ukraine Railway Task Force, raising funds to deliver food parcels to Ukrainian rail workers and their families.

Attendees heard from representatives of Ukrainian Railways about delivering an operational railway during the current conflict.

We are delighted that, with the support of the UK rail industry, we were able to raise £106,485 for the Global Ukraine Rail Task Force, equivalent to 7099 food packages. You can find more information about the charity further down this page, as well as details of how to donate.

Aid deliveries

On 10 January 2024, Rail Partners chief executive, Andy Bagnall, travelled, along with Steve Montgomery, managing director of First Rail, and David Brown, managing director of Arriva Trains, to Ukraine to show solidarity with Ukrainian railway workers and to see first hand the realities they face while supporting the war effort.

Thousands of food parcels, paid for by donations from British railway companies, have been delivered to front line Ukrainian rail workers who have been helping to repair the damage from the latest round of Russian missile strikes.

Read the news release and Andy's Blog here:

  • Rail Partners and WE AID delegation presents a cheque showing the amount raised by partners to Oleksii Semerun, leader of UZ’s main labour union the Trade Union of Railway Workers and Transport Builders of Ukraine (third from left), with Nick Brooks, ALLRAIL - co-chair of the Global Ukraine Rail Task Force (middle), alongside their translator (left)
  • Rail Partners delegates meet Oleksii Semerun, leader of UZ’s main labour union the Trade Union of Railway Workers and Transport Builders of Ukraine (middle), with Anna Gorchak, Department of International Cooperation, Ukrainian Railways
  • Residential block in Kyiv city centre recently hit by a Russian drone
  • Shelled Ukrainian Railways train, Kyiv
  • Representatives of UZ and WEAID with Rail Partners delegation
  • Rail Partners and WEAID delegation alongside shelled train
  • Ukrainian Railways sleeper train at sunset in Chelm
  • Ukrainian Railways trains at Kyiv station

    Donors

    Rail Partners and the Global Ukraine Taskforce would like to thank our corporate donors who have all made significant donations to the support Ukrainian rail workers.

    Gold donor

    Arriva is an international transport business that operates in 10 countries across Europe.

    In the UK, they operate regional national and open access rail passenger services:

     In addition to their train operations they run a leading train maintenance company

    Gold donor

    First Group operates three major UK train operating companies and two open access passenger rail services:

    First Group are also 'shadow operator' on the HS2 programme.

    Silver donors

    Govia is a joint venture between the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis and operates GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway).

    Transport UK, formerly operating as Abellio UK, is a leading private sector transport operator serving millions of rail and bus passengers every day. Owned and operated in the UK, it runs Greater Anglia, West Midlands Trains, East Midlands Railway and Merseyrail, as well as 11% of London’s bus routes. It has been serving its customers for over 20 years and is at the forefront of creating the future of transport in the UK.

    Bronze donors

    Our member supporters

    The event is funded by our passenger owning group and freight operating company members:

    How this event supports Ukrainian rail workers and their families

    Rail Partners with Ukraine was held in support of the Global Ukraine Rail Task Force and their food package campaign.

    The Global Ukraine Rail Task Force was set up at the start of the war to coordinate technical, mechanical, and policy support for Ukrainian freight and passenger rail companies, as well as refugee trains.

    Subsequently the Task Force has been working with WE AID — founded by Phineo, the German branch of the leading charitable organisation United Way — on a donation campaign to raise funds for the Ukrainian railways. Specifically, and most relevant to this event, they have provided the funding for food packages.

    Supplies for Ukrainian rail workers arrive at a warehouse for repackaging

    Click the link for more information about the Task Force.

    Programme

    Speakers

    Oleg Yakovenko

    Director, strategy and transformation

    JSC Ukrainian Railways


    Yuriy Nemchykov

    Director of corporate finance

    JSC Ukrainian Railways


    The presentation slides shared by Oleg and Yuriy can be viewed here, or click below to download:

    Watch the voiceover that accompanies the slides here:


    Event chair

    Kasia Madera

    Kasia Madera is a BBC News presenter with over 20 years of broadcasting experience. A regular anchor of many of the BBC's flagship programmes, Kasia was a continuous and reassuring on-air presence throughout the Covid pandemic.

    At the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Kasia was one of the first international journalists to report live from the Poland-Ukraine border. Of Polish heritage, Kasia is bilingual in Polish and was able to interview many refugees in a mixture of Polish and Ukrainian. More recently Kasia anchored BBC News from the NATO summit in Madrid as well as playing a role in the extensive coverage of the UK's mourning period for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

    Kasia Madera

    Also on the night

    Music

    Anastasia Gould is from a Ukrainian-British musical family and has played piano since the age of four and clarinet from the age of nine. She has competed in multiple festivals and competitions, most recently the BPSE junior competition. She supports Ukraine through solo and chamber performances at charity concerts.

    Her family has also founded the ‘Voice for Ukraine UK’ choir and the London Ukrainian Symphony Orchestra.


    Anastasia Gould

    Photography exhibition

    Jelle Krings’ work aims to humanise large amorphous themes such as war and armed conflict, migration, climate change and geopolitical issues, through character-driven, long-term, multimedia projects.

    Krings regularly contributes to media outlets like CNN, The Guardian, National Geographic, Newsweek, Stern, and De Volkskrant. He is currently focused on the war in Ukraine and has been following the plight of its railway workers since the full scale Russian invasion in February 2022.

    The resulting photo book 'Iron People'is expected to be released in the course of 2023 and is available for preorder here: jellekrings.com/ironpeoplebook


    Jelle Krings
    Photograph by Jelle Krings, part of the 'Iron People' exhibition

    About Ukrainian Railways (UZ)

    Ukrainian Railways (UZ) is a state owned, joint stock company administering railway infrastructure and rail transport in Ukraine. Ukrainian Railways is the world’s sixth largest rail passenger transporter and world’s seventh largest freight transporter. Since the start of the conflict on 24 February 2022, over 6,000km of railway tracks have been damaged and become non-operational in Ukraine and hundreds of objects of railway infrastructure have been damaged.

    UZ employs a workforce of 230,000, of which more than 300 have sadly lost their lives, 19 of them while on
    duty, and hundreds more have been injured.

    The Ukrainian Railways' contribution to the war effort should not be underestimated. Since the beginning of the conflict they have:

    • transported over 4 million people to safety – 1 million of these being children – and an estimated 120,000 pets
    • radically reprofiled and adapted their operational and infrastructure timelines to ensure minimal disruption to services
    • within 8 days established a hospital train to transport the injured, sick and medical professionals
    • rebuilt the bridge at Irpin, a strategic suburb west of Kyiv, in 29 days – a task which would normally take months
    • enabled over 200 delegations of world leaders and diplomats to travel into Ukraine as well as transporting President Zelensky
    • initiated the Children’s Railway initiative to engage children in the railway so that their association isn’t just one of evacuation and war, but to demonstrate the potential of rail for adventure and fun. They have an ambition to become the most child friendly railway in the world
    • have been critical in the movement of military personnel and materials as well as civilian freight traffic such as grain exports

    A true demonstration of UZ's resilience is the fact that since late February, their services haven’t completely stopped for more than a couple of hours at a time.

    Download a digital copy of the event guide here:

    With thanks

    Exhibition partner: Jelle Krings 

    Event support: Total Politics