A cross-industry initiative called UK Rail for Ukraine has sent its first aid train to the war-torn country on a special DB Cargo service, where its contents will be received by organisations working on the ground.
It is carrying more than 1,5000 tonnes consisting of non-perishable food, hygiene and medical products, basic living equipment and other much-needed supplies. The supplies were donated from a wide range of businesses and organisations. The Ukrainian Logistics Alliance and the Department for International Trade in Warsaw have provided advice and information.
UK Rail for Ukraine was set up by volunteers in early February led by a project team including Network Rail, Symposium Consulting, DB Cargo UK, LNER, Avanti West Coast, MTR Elizabeth line and The Veterans Charity.
24 intermodal containers are on the 500-metre-long train, with aid labelled in three languages to assist with distribution when it arrives at its destination.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom Vadym Prystaiko said: ‘I am expressing my gratitude to the UK Railway industry and everyone who contributed to the UK Rail for Ukraine initiative. We greatly appreciate your support during such challenging times.
‘Despite the complexity of the logistic routes, the industry managed to organize a delivery directly to the places of greatest need in Ukraine.”
‘In addition to the humanitarian aid gathered by volunteers from different businesses and organisations, UK Railway facilitated the delivery of 21 powerful industrial generators purchased by the Ukrainian Embassy which are imperative for Ukraine's energy sector.'
Network Rail Chairman Sir Peter Hendy added: ‘We have all seen the vital role the railway has played in Ukraine, delivering people to safety, and vital supplies to the front line. Britain’s railway is now playing its small part in supporting the inspirational people of Ukraine.’
He was backed by LNER MD David Horne, speaking on behalf of other train operators: ‘We are proud to be working alongside the wider railway family in providing support to the people of Ukraine, including our railway colleagues.’
Although further UK Rail for Ukraine services are not scheduled at present, those who have large quantities of high value physical items to donate are asked to contact DBC UK International Product Manager Tony Gillan via Tony.Gillam@deutschebahn.com
Support or donations have also been provided by staff from – amongst other organisations:
• Acland Plant Hire
• Avanti West Coast
• Brakes Group
• Brunswick International
• Business In The Community
• D McIntyre & Sons
• Deutsche Bahn
• DB Cargo UK
• Evo Group (owns Banner and other businesses)
• Furrer and Frey
• Global Hand
• Govia Thameslink Railway
• Harrogate Water
• HS1 Ltd
• London North Eastern Railway (LNER)
• Malcolm Group
• Maritime Transport
• MTR Elizabeth Line
• National Infrastructure Suppliers
• National Fire Chiefs Council and various local fire services
• Network Rail
• Nextmove Removals
• Railway Connected Leaders group
• Railway Industry Association
• Rail Safety and Standards Board
• Richard Tauwhare Consulting Limited
• Samworth Brothers
• Symposium Consulting
• The Chief of Staff Association
• The Veterans Charity
• Ukrainian Embassy to the United Kingdom