Romania currently has four routes of rails with Ukraine, but none of them is fully operational! In the early hot days of war, hundreds of thousands of refugees were fleeing Ukraine, and queues of cars at border crossing points with Romania were several kilometers long. Not a single train of refugees has crossed the Ukrainian – Romanian border, reads an essay published by 2C within the Europe on Rail project.
Romania has never had an efficient railway infrastructure to connect it with Ukraine, and this was paid dearly since the Muscovites’ invasion of Ukraine.
Enhancing the status of candidate countries, Ukraine and Moldova must connect to the railways of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, not only for satisfying the cohesion policy, but just the same for climate and environmental reasons. This is the reason for which the EU tries to improve railway connections with Ukraine and Moldova through extension of the European transport corridors. They will improve connectivity of Ukraine and Moldova with the EU notably for freight transport, thereby contributing to the objectives of the European Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.
For what Romania is concerned, this new state of facts brings about a fair amount of pressure to modernize the infrastructure and invest into new modern rolling stock as the country lags behind miserably.Romania Ukraine connection study
Night trains between Bucharest and Kyiv, Bucharest and Odessa (via Chișinău), as well as connecting Bucharest to Poland and Slovakia via L’viv or Transylvania to Slovakia via Uzhhorod are quick fixes in a post-war scenario.
Transcarpathia could become a pivotal root in the railways’ concerto around the Carpathian arc and thus connecting 5 countries: Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine.
These are just a few musings from an essay titled “UKRAINE & ROMANIA. For a Post-War Revival of Transborder Passenger Railways” and published by 2Celsius as part of the Europe on Rail initiative.
On the route that passes through Suceava county (Vadul-Siret – Vicșani), in the past, there was the main train connection – Moscow to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. The operations on the route were canceled in 2014.
Two other railway routes are in Maramureș county, at Valea Vișeului and Câmpulung Tisa. They too have been closed for more than a decade and it is impossible to operationalize them in a short time due to infrastructure issue on the Ukrainian side.
The railway crossing point at Valea Vișeului was closed in 2006, and the one at Câmpulung Tisa in 2007. One of the lines in Ukraine was flooded and has not been repaired, and at the other point there are significant issues related to the gauge width.
Another fourth railway point between Romania and Ukraine is at Halmeu in county of Satu Mare.