The Ukrainian Railways public joint-stock company (Ukrzaliznytsia) transported 138,500 passengers on trains to the European Union and back in the first seven months of this year, which is 8.3 times more than the number it transported in the corresponding period of last year. At the same time, Ukrzaliznytsia transported 1.1 million passengers on routes from/to Russia, which is 11% fewer than the number of passengers it transported on this route a year earlier.
A trend towards increased demand for rail transport from Ukraine to Europe and back has been observed over the past few years. In total, 28,700 passengers were transported from/to the European Union by train in 2015 and 33,000 in 2016.
At the same time, rail passenger transport between Ukraine and Russia has been declining for the past five years: 11.1 million passengers in 2012, 10.7 million in 2013, about 4.3 million in 2014, 2.4 million in 2015, and more than 2 million in 2016.
"Following the introduction of visa-free travel between Ukraine and the European Union, Ukrzaliznytsia is actively developing the transport market between Ukraine and member states of the European Union. In particular, the train No. 751/752 Kovel-Chelm began operating on 12 June 2017, and it will change its route to Zdolbuniv-Chelm on 24 August 2017. Another pair of Intercity+ high-speed trains to Poland was launched on 24 August 2017: the train No. 715/716 Kyiv-Przemysl (via Vinnytsia, Khmelnytskyi, and Ternopil). The first Intercity+ train No. 705/706 Kyiv-Lviv-Przemysl began operation on 23 December 2016," Ukrzaliznytsia said.
In total, trains and nonstop carriages currently operate from Ukraine to six countries in the European Union.
In addition to the two pairs of Intercity+ high-speed trains to Przemysl and the trains to Chelm, the passenger trains No. 51/52 Warsaw-Wroclaw-Lviv (daily) and No. 67/68 Kyiv-Warsaw (daily) also run from Ukraine to Poland. Railcar trailers from Kyiv and Lviv travel to Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. These are Kyiv-Bratislava (daily except on Thursdays and Fridays except on 30 August, 13 September, and 15 November), Kyiv-Prague (daily), Kyiv-Budapest, and Lviv-Budapest (daily), and Kyiv-Bucharest (Fridays) railcars. A Lviv-Varna trailer car also performed seven trips in the period of June-August.