An upgraded train belonging to the state-owned Moldovan Railway performed its first trip on March 30, arriving at the Odesa railway station on the same day, the CFTS correspondent reports.
Unlike the previous trains that operated on this route, the train No. 642/641 covered the distance in just over 3.5 hours. According to the Moldovan Railway, it covered the distance faster than a bus.
The D1M diesel train is equipped with air conditioning, an automatic information system for passengers, and internet access. The train that arrived at the Odesa railway station consisted of four railcars of three comfort classes.
This and four other trains belonging to the Moldovan Railway were reconstructed and upgraded at the Electroputere VFU plant in Pashkan (Romania). The upgrade extended the service lives of the diesel trains by 18 years and reduced consumption of diesel fuel by 20%.
The train No. 642/641 will operate three times a week, on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The train will depart from Chisinau at 06:57 and arrive in Odesa at 10:46. On the return journey, it will depart from Odesa at 18:45 and arrive in the capital of Moldova at 22:27.
In addition, the train is expected to be operated daily during the summer.
According to the Moldovan Railway’s Director General Iurii Topala, this project began in 2015, but its implementation was postponed due to a number of technical and administrative reasons. The state secretary for the Moldovan Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, Iuliana Dragalin, stated, "This is yet another proof that Moldova and Ukraine are two partner countries that can reach a compromise and agreement."
According to the head of the EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM), Slawomir Pichor, EUBAM has been actively calling for reduction of the travel time and improvement of travel conditions for passengers crossing the border on this train since 2016. "Together with our border and customs control partners, we are working to make the border as safe as possible and prevent illegal crossings while ensuring that citizens can move across the border as comfortably as possible within the law," Pichor said.
As reported, the Ukrainian Railways public joint-stock company recently scheduled 12 additional trains for the Easter weekend.