Successful Kyiv-Viena freight train trial opens way for stable connections
The first test train connecting Kyiv and Rail Cargo Group’s BILK terminal in Budapest is a fact. The test was completed in late September and is the precursor of a stable and frequent intermodal connection between the two locations that could start as soon as the end of 2023. An interesting characteristic of the new service is the transport of non-craneable semi-trailers on the route for the first time.
Powered by VTG and VEGA’s r2L technology, the test train carried semi-trailers with construction materials from Kyiv to Budapest, which will function as the route’s gateway to Vienna. Before Budapest, the train also stops in Lviv, Ukraine.
According to Rail Cargo Group, which developed the service jointly with Ukrainian Railways, during the test, everything worked as expected, so what remains to see is the inclusion of the service in regular timetables and practical proof of its economic feasibility considering that the use of advanced technologies makes it more expensive.
In the making since May
ÖBB Rail Cargo Group disclosed its plans for a regular Kyiv-Vienna connection back in May during the transport logistic exhibition in Munich. On 14 September, the Austrian company signed an MoU with its partner, Ukrainian Railways, laying the foundation for the route’s activation. According to the agreement, Ukrainian Railways will manage rolling stock, terminals, and customs procedures in Ukraine. RCG will take care of the same procedures along the section of the route in the European Union. Despite the test running seemingly quickly after signing the MoU, this was not the case, as the two partners expected to run the first tests in August, with their plans being postponed for later due to technical delays.