The board of the Ukrainian Railways joint-stock company (Ukrzaliznytsia) has approved an agreement on allowing private locomotives to operate on public railways. The agreement is related to a pilot project on allowing private locomotives to operate on some public railway routes.
The Ministry of Infrastructure announced this in a statement, the CFTS portal reports.
“Ukrzaliznytsia has approved an agreement on allowing private locomotives to operate on the railways, and we are waiting for the first private companies to begin operating on Ukrzaliznytsia’s tracks. I expect the agreement to be concluded as soon as possible," Minister of Infrastructure Vladyslav Kryklyi said.
LLC Ukrainian Locomotive Company was selected as the first participant in the pilot project in August. The company’s locomotives will operate on nine railway routes in Western Ukraine.
As the Ministry of Infrastructure emphasized, the selection of participants in the pilot project is continuing. "Thanks to it, we will be able to test the functioning of the rail transport market under conditions of operation of several rail carriers. It will also allow us to make decisions on the technical and technological aspects of granting access to the railway infrastructure and assess the transport safety risks associated with operation of private trains on the public railway network," the minister said.
Although LLC Ukrainian Locomotive Company was selected as the first participant in the pilot project on 27 August, a contract between the company and Ukrzaliznytsia has not yet been signed. Market participants have accused Ukrzaliznytsia of delaying the process of approving the agreement, which was supposed to be signed on 7 October. In connection with this, a proposal was made to extend the pilot project until 2023.
"The contract with Ukrzaliznytsia was supposed to be signed on 7 October, but this did not happen. If this happens in a month, then another 1-2 months will be needed to sign the relevant regulations with the railways (the Southwestern and Lviv railways). One year will have passed by then. It is necessary to extend the pilot project until 2023," the Ukrainian Locomotive Company’s Technical Director Volodymyr Krot said in October.
Kryklyi recently said that seven more companies have the chance to become participants in the pilot project.
Later, Member of Parliament Oleksandr Skichko, who heads the parliamentary transport committee’s subcommittee on rail transport, said that the pilot project had been suspended because of the change of leadership at Ukrzaliznytsia.