The UK rail industry has joined together to facilitate sending more than a million items of aid in response to the humanitarian crisis in the region.
UK Rail for Ukraine, a cross-industry initiative set up by volunteers in early February, has brought together the large quantities of humanitarian aid from across the country.
A first aid train has left the UK on a special DB Cargo service bound for Ukraine, where it will be received by organisations working on the ground.
The service is carrying more than 1,500 tonnes consisting of a range of aid, including non perishable food, hygiene and medical products, basic living equipment, and other much needed supplies that have been donated from a wide range of businesses and organisations following requests for aid from the Ukrainian authorities.
Transported in 24 shipping containers over a 500-meter train, the aid transported by UK Rail for Ukraine has been labelled in all three languages to assist with distribution when it arrives at its destination.
Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom 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 organise a delivery directly to the places of greatest need in Ukraine.
“In addition to the humanitarian aid gathered by volunteers from different businesses and organizations, UK Railway facilitated the delivery of 21 powerful industrial generators purchased by the Ukrainian Embassy which are imperative for Ukraine's energy sector.”
Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport said: “The UK Rail for Ukraine initiative is playing a great role in delivering humanitarian aid from across the country.
“Our exceptional railway network has come together and is working hard to deliver vital supplies to support the inspirational Ukrainian people.
“The UK continues to stand with all those fleeing Putin’s barbaric invasion.”
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chair of Network Rail said: “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.”
Andrea Rossi, Chief Executive Officer of DB Cargo UK said “Across Europe, DB Cargo is already leading the way in delivering humanitarian aid by rail to the Ukraine, having recently developed the first rail bridge to the war-torn region.
“Here in the UK, we are pleased to be able to support the ongoing aid effort to deliver essential supplies to ease the suffering of the Ukrainian people impacted and displaced by the atrocities that are unfolding.”
David Horne, Managing Director at London North Eastern Railway (LNER) on behalf of train operators said: “We are proud to be working alongside the wider railway family in providing support to the people of Ukraine, including our railway colleagues.”