Seven months later, rail traffic between Isium and Kharkiv resumed
Despite shelling that hit Ukraine throughout the day, passenger rail traffic resumed between Issyam, a city recently retaken by Ukrainian forces in the east, and Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, in the north-east.
In a difficult environment, railway workers managed to restore this rail link after a seven-month disruption imposed by the Russian offensive.
“Trains run twice a day”Andriy Kadiatsky, director of Issium Railways, assured, standing in the rain in front of the barricaded windows of the partly burned station.
For some residents of this region at the heart of fighting on the eastern front, it is a way to finally access basic necessities. “This will allow them to go to Kharkiv and use their bank cards.”Mr. Kadiatsky underlined.
Engines that once served the eastern Ukraine network are without power, and Russian missiles continue to hit Kharkiv’s marshalling yards. But the Ukrainian DPKr-3 diesel train that once operated between Kyiv and the Ukrainian capital’s international airport, Boryspil, has been put back into service… 600 kilometers to the east.
The route includes stops in the former front-line towns of Savyntsi, Tsyganska and Balakliia.
The traveler, Maria Timofienko, had not been to Palaglia since the war began. “I’m 73 years old and I always have to cycle because the buses don’t run”He told AFP on a train passing through wooded hills under gray skies.
She hopes that Balaklia, where she has a family, will give her respite from the now-ruined Isium.
“Yesterday, my granddaughter called me and said, ‘Grandma, I checked on the Internet, the train to Balaglia will resume service tomorrow’. I said, ‘Okay, okay, I’ll take it.’.
“I have no hope. I don’t know if it’s like it. Here they broke into my apartment, my garage. They stole everything. They ate all my canned food. They took all the tools.she said. “Many died under the rubble. Homes and schools were destroyed. It was scary”She continued.