Ukraine develops its railway infrastructure by using the best practices of global leaders

Olga Zerkalova


The modernisation of the railway infrastructure is one of the prioritized trends of the Ukrainian transport sector development. The high priority tasks include the locomotive fleet updating.

For this purpose, the PJSC «Ukrzaliznytsia» and the French Company «Alstom» signed the MOU in September 2018, and hereby launched their collaboration in the sector of supply and servicing of electric locomotives in Ukraine. The Business Development Director of Alstom in Europe, Florence Dufur, told the Magazine «Shipping» what contribution the company was ready to make to the development of the Ukrainian railway sector.

Alstom is one of the global leaders in the railway rolling stock production. The company is sure that its innovative technologies and projects in the railway sector, international partnership practices all over the world and knowledge of the market of railways with the gauge of 1520 mm will make it possible to modernise the Ukrainian railways, and help Ukraine to become a fully valid participant of a new Silk Road.

– Mrs. Dufur, Alstom officially opened its representative office in Ukraine on 1st July, 2018. What are the main strategic trends of the company in Ukraine?

– Alstom is interested in the Ukrainian market as we can come up with the solutions not just for locomotives, but for the underground, trams and infrastructure as well.

We opened our representative office in Ukraine, and we hereby show our interest and reliability as such actions were a part of our liabilities before the PJSC «Ukrzaliznytsia» and the Ukrainian government. This step also shows Altsom`s aim to become a long-term partner for Ukrzaliznytsia and Ukraine all in all.

– Alstom is one of the most successful giants at the global railway market with a rich experience in the international partnership. What contribution can the company make to the Ukrainian railway sector development?

– Our experience in the international partnership will be very useful for our affairs in Ukraine. Here are some examples. A big contract for operational trains that we got in the RSA 6 years ago included the requirements to construct a facility there. We successfully completed those requirements and held an official opening ceremony on 25th October in the same year.

The same we did in Kazakhstan being a partner of the JSC «NC «KTJ» as a part of the joint venture «EKZ» established in 2012 for manufacturing locomotives. Nowadays, EKZ has manufactured 25 locomotives already, and we have reached the localisation level of 25 % for 6 years.

What projects is Alstom going to implement in the near future?

– You have an experience in constructing locomotives for railways with the gauge of 1520 mm. Will such electric locomotives be manufactured in Ukraine for Ukrzaliznytsia?

– It will depend on the contractual terms. Concerning the OECD rules, the financing with optimized terms may become a reason for a part of local content to be born. Alstom follows the value-driven approach principles and considers the localisation that is gradual and beneficial for both the parties in Ukraine. It is the very aim for us.

– What locomotives are the most appropriate for the Ukrainian railways? Will it be a model that was tested on the Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan railroads?

– Alstom designed freight-hauling locomotives. The sixteen-wheel locomotives Prima T8 BoBo+BoBo are notable for their high tractive power and a much lower level of attacking the infrastructure as compared with CoCo locomotives. Prima T8 provide a relevant level of comfort and maximum safety in long trips with cargo trains. The latest locomotives by Prima T8, for instance, KZ8A for Kazakhstan and AZ8A for Azerbaijan, are able to carry up to 9000 tons and go with the speed of 120 km/h. They can also adapt to severe winter conditions and extremely low temperatures up to -50ºC (for Kazakhstan locomotives). Moreover, our Prima T8 locomotives provide the maximum level of versatility as they can be connected to one or two additional sections for passing high angles with heavyweight trains. Prima locomotives have already passed more than 40 million km in Kazakhstan, what is equal to 1000 trips around the Earth. Needless to say that they proved themselves to the full extent! Definitely, we can offer them to Ukrzaliznytsia!

– What specifics do the locomotive fittings have for Ukraine in general? 

— For Ukraine, locomotives shall be designed for servicing in winter conditions for them to work at very low temperatures. Thanks to various contracts, like in Kazakhstan, Alstom got wide knowledge in this field. According to the requirements of the network in Ukraine, locomotives shall work with 25 kV AC, 3 kV DC and even with the both voltages, what has already been going with our locomotives AZ4A in Azerbaijan. In Ukraine, we should provide customers with a number of locomotives with the maximum level of interaction of three versions, in the field of training, documents, spare parts, maintenance, life cycle cost. Alstom has a great experience in designing locomotives that work with 25 kV AC (more than 3200 locomotives are sold) and 3 kV DC (more than 540 locomotives are sold) in different countries for about 20 years. There are not so many companies in the world, which can offer such a diversified number of models of locomotives with the proved servicing experience. As we have already been represented with our electric locomotives in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, which may become a part of the Silk Road in the future, our reputable locomotives and work experience all over the world will provide significant advantages for these routes. That is exactly why we are so ambitious in Ukraine.



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