The state will promote domestic manufacturing of high-speed trains, and President Viktor Yanukovych tasked the government with preparing and submitting to parliament by July 2013 a law which would stimulate manufacturing of electric trains with required characteristics.
The order in question is contained in the National Plan of Action for 2013 on the implementation of the 2010-14 Economic Reform Program Rich Society, Competitive Economy, Efficient State, which has been approved by the president and published on the administration’s website. Let us recall that the head of state had ordered before to purchase 248 domestically-manufactured passenger cars at the public’s expense no later than December 2013, including 200 compartment cars, 41 cars with disabled-accessible seating, and 7 specialized cars of the ST type.
Responsibility for implementation of the presidential order lies with the Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov, the Ministry of Infrastructure, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, the State Administration of Railway Transport (by consent) and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.
Unbelievably, all this activity comes after the state spent millions purchasing Korean trains! But better late than never. What are the chances of Ukraine to create our own supertrain? The Day asked for expert opinions.
Yosyf VINSKY, ex-Minister of Transport and Communications:
“We should have it as an objective, but, in my opinion, Ukraine will not be able to do it on its own in the next few years. Since our machine-builders are 30 years behind their European competitors, we would need to create a joint venture for the high-speed trains manufacturing. In particular, Hyundai co-production in Ukraine looks likely. The Korean company suffered a lot of criticism, and I understand and agree with the critics on the issue of implementation. However, this train as such is a step forward. The Koreans will be interested in such cooperation, because otherwise Ukraine may cut ties with them altogether and choose another partner. Back in 2009, there was an agreement on the co-production of Korean trains in Ukraine, but this idea was rejected for some obscure reason.”
Oleksandr RUDAKOV, Director of Railcar Investment Company LLC:
“Firstly, our rail tracks are designed for a maximum speed of 160 km per hour, and even that applies only if they are in perfect condition. At the moment, about 60 percent of routine repairs and 40 percent of scheduled maintenance are overdue... Basically, when we talk about modern trains, one needs to separate passenger and freight traffic. Rail operations in Ukraine have some peculiarities. Europe has 60 percent of all freight traffic using roads, while we have bulk goods mainly transported by the railways. High-speed passenger traffic and freight traffic are hardly compatible on the same lines. To separate them, you need a lot of money and upgraded rolling stock. Ukraine has an alternative to imported high-speed trains, as Kriukiv Railcar Plant has such trains tested, but it did not have time to complete them before Euro-2012. They are to replace the Hyundais. So, if we talk about the production base, Ukraine is ready to produce high-speed cars, the main obstacle is the need to find the vast funding needed to construct the infrastructure for high-speed rail... Ukrainian passenger cars are four times cheaper than their imported counterparts, coming at about 2 million hryvnias. As of 2010, electric engines depreciation stood at 86.9 percent, that of diesel engines at 90.3 percent, of electric suburban trains at 70 percent, and of passenger cars at 88.5 percent. The annual investment needed to upgrade and modernize fixed assets stood then at 18 billion hryvnias. Given the cost of fixed assets that needed to be replaced in the next few years, the minimum investment requirements of the industry in order to stabilize the fixed assets renewal process were estimated then at 94 billion hryvnias. However, it was before the high-speed traffic became an urgent task. Given this added need, the minimum requirements stand at about 200 billion hryvnias now.”