France is ready to finance a project for supply of Alstom locomotives to Ukraine.

The Cabinet of Ministers announced this in a statement following a meeting between Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and France’s Ambassador to Ukraine Etienne de Poncins, the CFTS portal reports.

Ukrainian enterprises will become part of the Alstom production chain if a program for supply of the French locomotives to Ukraine is implemented, Shmyhal said.

“I am grateful to the French authorities who developed this project and expressed their readiness to finance it; for this gesture of political and economic support,” the Ukrainian prime minister said.

According to him, provision of EUR 100 million by France for modernization of railway stretches, rolling stock, etc. could be one of the aspects of this program.

According to available information, these funds could be used to build a railway line connecting the Lantratovka-Kondrashevska-Nova railway line to the national railway network.

The issue of supply of locomotives to the Ukrainian Railways joint-stock company (Ukrzaliznytsia) by one of the largest foreign manufacturers of rolling stock has been under discussion for several years. Regarding negotiations with Alstom, the French company announced in June 2018 that it was developing a project for production of electric locomotives for Ukraine and Georgia, which have a combined market for 350 locomotives, until 2025. According to the company, 45 of these electric locomotives will be preliminarily produced for Georgia and the rest for Ukraine.

On September 19, 2018, Ukrzaliznytsia’s then-acting Board Chairman Yevhen Kravtsov and Alstom’s CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge signed a memorandum of understanding, thus officially formalizing cooperation on supply of electric locomotives to Ukraine and servicing them.

At that time, upgrade of Ukrzaliznytsia’s fleet of electric locomotives was described as a strategic priority for the company. It was also stated that Ukrzaliznytsia would need 495 freight locomotives of various voltages and passenger two-system electric locomotives over the following 10 years.

In late February 2019, Alstom announced that it intended to deliver 500 new electric locomotives to Ukraine in the event of an agreement with Ukrzaliznytsia.

In October 2019, Ukrzaliznytsia’s Board Chairman Kravtsov once again met with representatives of Alstom to discuss purchase of electric locomotives.

A tender for supply of 205 electric locomotives to Ukrzaliznytsia was scheduled to be held in March 2020. Among the applicants were Alstom, Siemens (Germany), and CRRC (China). However, the tender had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine. Ukrzaliznytsia’s director of strategic development and investment policy Anton Sabolevskyi announced postponement of the launch of the process for selection of the supplier of mainline electric locomotives for at least a month.