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‘Rail Partners with Ukraine’ fundraiser raises £105,847 for Ukrainian frontline railway charity

13 September 2023

Rail industry joins forces with Global Ukraine Rail Task Force to raise funds for food parcels for Ukrainian railway workers and their families

On Tuesday 12 September, Rail Partners hosted ‘Rail Partners with Ukraine’ a collective railway fundraiser. The event, in aid of the Global Ukraine Rail Task Force and its food package campaign, raised a £105,847, which means 7056 food parcels can be delivered directly to Ukrainian railway workers and their families.

The event was well-attended by colleagues from across the industry and they were joined by the rail minister, Huw Merriman MP, and the Shadow Transport Secretary, Louise Haigh MP. Attendees heard from Oleg Yakovenko and Yuriy Nemchykov - representatives of Ukrainian Railways (UZ) who are responsible for delivering a functioning railway amid the current conflict. They gave insights into coordinating the mass exodus of people in the early stages of the war; how the railway has been used in support of military personnel as well managing freight traffic such as grain exports; and how they have maintained the railway in the event of excessive damage to the infrastructure.

Rail Partners’ chief executive Andy Bagnall, said:

‘Rail plays a pivotal role in supporting communities, businesses and the wider economy here in Britain. Running a railway on a daily basis in normal conditions means hundreds of individual operational decisions taken to deliver for passengers and freight customers.  

‘That is why, in the midst of the current conflict with Russia, the efforts of our colleagues at Ukrainian Railways are remarkable. The railway has been, and is, a critical means to transport vital supplies, evacuate civilians and support the wider economy. Ukrainian rail workers have stepped up to deliver for their country alongside the Ukrainian armed forces. The decisions they make and the work they do are more important than ever before. That is why as an industry we came together to support this great cause.’

The Global Ukraine Rail Task Force was set up at the start of the Ukrainian war to coordinate support for Ukrainian freight and passenger rail companies, as well as refugee trains. The Task Force has been working with WE-AID – on a donation campaign to raise funds for  Ukrainian railway workers and their families. The campaign has raised €100,000 over the past year – which is equivalent to 6000 food packages for workers on the front line. Each package costs about £15 and consists of flour, pasta, rice, salt, corn and wheat grits, oil, canned fish and meat, pate, tea, condensed milk, sugar and biscuits and all of the ingredients are sourced in Ukraine.

CEO and chair of the UZ Railway management board, Yevhen Liashchenko, said:

‘Since the first day of the invasion, our rail infrastructure suffered significant damage and destruction. Despite all of this, we are restoring the infrastructure the Ukrainian railways continues to meet all transportation needs of the state, both at home and European markets.

‘The event is of great importance and serves as a reminder for the whole civilian world that right now, Ukrainian railway workers are real warriors fighting on the battlefield.

‘We’d like to express our profound gratitude for your support of Ukrainian railway workers in these difficult times.’

‘Rail Partners with Ukraine’ was funded in its entirety by the private sector members of Rail Partners and the proceeds raised will go directly to purchasing these food packages. 

David Brown, managing director of Arriva UK Trains, said:

‘The entire Arriva UK Trains family is delighted to be sponsoring this important ‘Rail Partners with Ukraine’ event. The Global Ukraine Rail Taskforce has done a remarkable job in supporting the men and women whose vital work and dedication has kept Ukraine’s railways running in the face of extraordinary challenges. It’s fantastic to see the UK railway industry come together and rally around such an important cause.’

Steve Montgomery, managing director of First Rail and chair of Rail Partners, said

‘FirstGroup are pleased to have supported this event and the Global Ukraine Rail Task Force.

‘The UK rail industry will continue to share expertise, partner with colleagues and do what we can to help. 'The Iron People' of Ukraine have the full support of their railway family in Britain, and we are inspired by their commitment, ambition and resilience in the most testing of times.’

Notes to editors
About Rail Partners

Rail Partners exists to make the railway better by harnessing the expertise and creativity of private sector operators for the benefit of those who use the railway, passengers and freight customers, and those who pay for it, including taxpayers.  

Rail Partners provides advocacy and policy solutions for its private sector passenger owning group and freight company members. Rail Partners additionally provides technical services to train operating companies in both the public and private sectors. For more information regarding our membership visit: 

Arriva: Since entering the UK rail market in 2000, Arriva now operates 285 trains and covers around 15% of the entire network, with services ranging from rural commuter lines to long-distance and inter-urban routes. It is the only owning group running services under all operating models in use in the UK.

Arriva’s companies include: Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Grand Central, Arriva Rail London

: is a leading private sector provider of public transport. It is the UK’s largest rail operator and one of its most experienced, running all types of passenger rail: long-distance, commuter, regional and sleeper services.

FirstGroup operates three Government contracted operations (Avanti West Coast, GWR, SWR) and two open access routes (Hull Trains and Lumo). Its businesses are vital to communities and the services it provides are critical to delivering wider economic, social and environmental goals.

FirstGroup’s companies include: Avanti West Coast, Great Western Railway (GWR), South Western Railway (SWR), Hull Trains, Lumo

  • Photo caption: (from left to right) Steve Montgomery, managing director FirstRail and chair Rail Partners, Louise Haigh MP Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Nick Brooks, co - chair, Global Ukraine Rail Task Force, Jan Strecker, managing director WE-AID, Huw Merriman MP, Minister of State for Rail and HS2 and Andy Bagnall chief executive, Rail Partners
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