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Building Bridges: LTG and Ukrainian Railways Collaborate on the FREE Rail Programme

Building Bridges: LTG and Ukrainian Railways Collaborate on the FREE Rail Programme
photo: LTG/Building Bridges: LTG and Ukrainian Railways Collaborate on the FREE Rail Programme
11 / 05 / 2023

Lithuanian Railways (LTG), striving for full integration with Europe, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the 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 railway operating model based on EU railway standards and best practices and aligned with the specifics of broad gauge (EU+).

Launched in March this year and implemented by LTG, FREE Rail will achieve full integration with Europe in terms of business connectivity, technology and IT and will open up more opportunities for businesses, citizens and the Western rail industry using rail services.

According to Viacheslav Yeromin, a Member of the Board of Directors of the 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 regional railway operating model opens up new opportunities both for strengthening regional security and for the development of railway business ties 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 Viacheslav Yeromin.

"We have a strong values-based approach, and we are consistently striving for full integration with Europe in terms of business relations, infrastructure and technology. With the FREE Rail programme, 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 aspects ranging from legal issues and business resilience standards to technical compatibility and appropriate IT solutions," said LTG CEO Egidijus Lazauskas.

Diversification and the development of services targeting different markets have been strategic objectives of LTG Group companies since 2017. Since then, and especially in the last few years, significant work has been done with the establishment of LTG Cargo's 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-Krokuva is being launched.

LTG and Ukrainian Railways agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding to work together to ensure that the new railway operating model is compatible between the countries using the broad gauge system, to encourage countries operating on the broad gauge system to join the FREE Rail initiative, and to seek support for the initiative in the European Union Institutions and the European organisations representing the rail industry.

Source: LTG