HomeTechSpanish gauge-changing technology to integrate Ukrainian railways with the EU

Spanish gauge-changing technology to integrate Ukrainian railways with the EU

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UKRAINE: The use of automatic gauge-changing wheelsets to speed up the movement of freight wagons between Ukraine’s 1 520 mm broad gauge network and the 1 435 mm standard gauge of neighbouring European Union countries is to be piloted by national railway Ukrzaliznytsia and Spanish infrastructure manager ADIF.

‘One of the important tasks of the infrastructure team is to reach stable export figures at the level of 2021’, said Deputy Prime Minister for Reconstruction Oleksandr Kubrakov on March 7. ‘Solving the technological issues related to the replacement of wheelsets will significantly revive the flow of goods and passengers with EU countries. In the conditions of the ongoing war, speed is becoming one of the important factors of our defence capability and economic stability.’

Technology developed to enable trains to run through from Spain’s traditional 1 668 mm gauge to the 1 435 mm of its new lines will be adapted to add 1 520 mm gauge capability.

‘We are working out all possible technological solutions to create a continuous logistics process for the transport of goods between Ukraine and EU countries’, said Ukrzaliznytsia management board Chairman Yevhen Liashchenko after the memorandum was signed with ADIF.

He said Spain provides a model for the use of technology to enable the coexistence of different gauges. The implementation of gauge-changing equipment is technically complex but ‘much faster and cheaper’ than rebuilding a considerable part of the network to a different gauge.

The difference between 1 520 mm and 1 435 mm gauge is too small to enable dual gauging by laying a third rail on existing track.

Ukrzaliznytsia and ADIF are to seek European Union funding for the implementation of the project, which Liashchenko said would be ‘a significant step towards the integration of Ukrainian railways into the European transport network’.

ADIF will also co-operate on the development of plans for EU standard infrastructure and traffic management systems to enable the operation of faster trains.

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