Lithuanian Railways and Ukrainian Railways strengthen cooperation: seeking full integration with Europe

Lithuanian Railways (LTG), which seeks full integration with Europe, signed a Memorandum of Intent with Ukrainian Railways in Munich on 9 May — Europe Day. In the Memorandum, the companies agreed to cooperate in the implementation of the FREE Rail programme, initiated by LTG, which aims to develop a rail operating model based on EU rail standards and best practices and aligned with the specificities of Broad Gauge (EU+).

LTG and Ukrainian Railways strengthen cooperation

Launched in March this year and implemented by LTG, the FREE Rail programme will lead to full integration with Europe — in terms of business connectivity, technology, and IT — and will open more opportunities for businesses, citizens, and the Western rail industry that uses rail services, Railway Supply reports citing LTG.

According to Viacheslav Yeromin, a member of the Management Board of Ukrainian Railways who signed the Memorandum, the creation of a new operating model aligned with the broad gauge railways will contribute to strengthening Ukraine’s business ties with Europe.

“The creation of a unified model for the region’s railways opens up new opportunities both for strengthening the region’s security and for developing rail business links with European countries. By harmonising the technical standards of the different railway companies, we will be able to improve cross-border mobility, creating more favourable conditions for economic cooperation between Ukraine and European markets,” said Mr Yeromin.

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“We have a strong values-based approach, which is why we have consistently strived to fully integrate with Europe — in terms of business relations, infrastructure, and technology. With FREE Rail, we are taking the lead in the region and inviting rail companies from other countries in the region to join the programme. This ongoing programme, which will run until 2030, will enable the region’s full integration with Europe and will address issues ranging from legal issues, business resilience standards to technical compatibility and appropriate IT solutions,” said LTG CEO Egidijus Lazauskas, who signed the memorandum.

According to him, diversification of activities and development of services targeting different markets has been a strategic goal of LTG Group companies since 2017. Since then, and especially in the last few years, significant progress has been made, with the establishment of LTG Cargo subsidiary LTG Cargo Polska in 2020 and LTG Cargo Ukraine in 2021. New freight routes have been launched, intermodal services with Western Europe are being developed, and a new passenger route Vilnius–Warsaw–Krakow has been launched.

In the Memorandum, LTG and Ukrainian Railways have agreed to work together to ensure that the new railway operating model is compatible between the broad gauge countries, to encourage the broad gauge countries to join the FREE Rail initiative, and to seek support for the initiative in the European Union Institutions and in the European organisations that represent the railway industry.

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