The Railways of Ukraine have played a vital part in the country’s economy, and never more so than in the current conflict.
The 403,000 employees of the 5-foot gauge,12,400 track-mile network have performed work almost as important as those of the Ukraine armed forces, in transporting freight and passengers, including the evacuation of millions of people from their war-torn homeland to new, possibly permanent, new homes elsewhere in Europe. This has been carried out despite network damage and disruption,both by the Russians ,to inflict damage on the network and prevent its functioning, and also by the Ukraine forces to frustrate Russian military gains and advancement.
Although steam hasn’t operated in normal service in Ukraine since 1983, the country inherited 400 steam locos from Russia on independence, in various conditions ranging from derelict to operational. The Ukrainians are rightly proud of their railway, and Railfilms has access to footage of several classes of steam locomotive at work on railfan specials in Ukraine, taken at various times in the 21st century. Most of these, but by no means all, have operated in south-western Ukraine in the scenic Carpathian mountains. The locomotives are largely of Russian origin, and the sight and sound of these engines working in a uniquely beautiful winter landscape, against snapshots of everyday life for the citizens of the country, is not to be missed.
This programme is presented as a tribute to Ukrainian Railway employees.