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Thousands of food parcels delivered to Ukrainian Railway employees and their families, following donations from British rail companies

22 May 2024
  • Nearly 7,500 food parcels have been delivered to Ukrainian Railway employees and their families, paid for by donations from British rail companies. 
  • Industry body Rail Partners fundraised over £106,000 in donations to support Ukrainian rail workers on the front line. 
  • The food packages include a variety of essentials all sourced in Ukraine to support the economy by buying from local producers.

Nearly 7,500 food parcels have been delivered to Ukrainian Railway employees and their families, paid for by donations from British rail companies. Known in Ukraine as the ‘Iron People', many rail workers are living close to the front lines, while others have had to flee their homes and become internally displaced.

The food packages include a variety of essentials such as oil, sugar, flour, salt, pasta, rice, corn and wheat cereals, canned fish and meat, pate, tea, and biscuits, all sourced in Ukraine to support the economy by buying from local producers. Some of the funding has also paid for household cleaning products for rail workers living in temporary accommodation having been forced to flee their homes due to the ongoing conflict with Russia. 

At the ‘Rail Partners with Ukraine’ fundraiser in September 2023, industry trade body Rail Partners and its private-sector passenger owning groups, freight operating companies, and other industry colleagues, raised over £106,000 to purchase the food parcels and deliver them to Ukrainian rail workers. The funding fed into a wider effort by the Global Ukraine Rail Task Force, including financial support from American, Norwegian and Swedish rail companies. The aid delivery was arranged by the charity WE Aid and distributed to individual workers and their families by the Trade Union of Railway Workers and Transport Builders of Ukraine. 

In January, Andy Bagnall, Rail Partners chief executive, Steve Montgomery, managing director of First Rail, and David Brown, managing director of Arriva Trains, travelled to Kyiv to see firsthand the challenges Ukrainian rail workers are facing. They travelled as part of a delegation from the Global Ukraine Rail Task Force to show solidarity with rail colleagues working in the most difficult of circumstances and to continue to raise awareness of their ongoing struggle.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the railway has played a key role in the conflict. It has helped to evacuate civilians in the first days of the conflict, stepped in to provide a vital lifeline for grain exports, following the closure of the Black Sea Ports, and helped with troop movements and evacuating injured personnel. 

The Global Ukraine Rail Task Force is continuing to collect donations to support the Ukrainian Railway and its people, you can donate at: https://www.we-aid.org/en/initiatives/allrail-support-ukraine-rail-task-force/ 

Rail Partners chief executive, Andy Bagnall, said:

‘Thank you to colleagues from across the British rail industry for their donations which have helped to support Ukrainian Railway employees and their families.

‘Rail Partners and our members are proud of the food aid that our fundraising has provided rail workers in Ukraine, who are working in such difficult circumstances.

‘It’s important for us to continue to show solidarity and to encourage colleagues from across the railway and beyond to continue to help support Ukrainian Railway employees and their families.’ 

Jolene Molitoris, Chair of the Global Ukraine Rail Task Force, said:

‘We have focused on working together with Ukraine’s rail trade union to provide large food packages and water to rail sector workers and their families who have given so much to the Ukrainian rail sector and are often called the second army.

‘Together, all of us in the global rail family can make a real difference to the lives of rail compatriots in Ukraine.’

Notes to editors

About Ukrainian Railways

Ukrainian Railways (UZ) is a state owned, joint stock company administering railway infrastructure and rail transport in Ukraine. Ukrainian Railways is the world’s sixth largest rail passenger transporter and world’s seventh largest freight transporter. Since the start of the conflict on 24 February 2022, Ukrainian Railways has played an important role in the war effort including:

  • Transporting millions of people to safety
  • Rebuilding infrastructure, including the bridge at Irpin, a strategic suburb west of Kyiv, in 29 days – a task which would normally take months 
  • Supporting the travel of world leaders and diplomats into Ukraine as well as transporting President Zelensky 
  • Initiating the Children’s Railway initiative to engage children in the railway so that their association isn’t just one of evacuation and war, but to demonstrate the potential of rail for adventure and fun. They have an ambition to become the most child friendly railway in the world 
  • Moving military personnel and materials as well as civilian freight traffic such as grain exports.

https://www.uz.gov.ua/en/about/

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:  https://www.railpartners.co.uk/

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