EIB supports the upgrade of Kharkiv damaged tram system

Kharkiv tram
Photo: Kharkiv City Council

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the Kharkiv City Council and the Saltivske Tram Depot municipal enterprise agreed to prepare the technical requirements for Kharkiv tram upgrade which suffered damages during the war in Ukraine.

Under the agreement, the sides launched their partnership in preparation for the Kharkiv City Urban Electric Transport project on November 11, 2022.

Through the managed Eastern Partnership Technical Assistance Trust Fund (EPTATF), a technical assistance grant will support Kharkiv in conducting the necessary preparations to purchase a new tram fleet and to reconstruct of the war-ravaged tram infrastructure. The preparations will be financed by a EUR 400 000 technical assistance grant funded by the EPTATF. Once the conditions will allow the works to start, the EIB will consider the financing of the entire project, which will help the city rebuild and improve the quality and sustainability of public transport service.

This will be a major renewal and expansion of the tram system, which the city has not carried out in the past 30 years. Kharkiv and our tram depot need proper experience and skills in preparing such investments. Technical assistance support is very important to reducing any risks in the preparation and implementation of the project in a sound and timely manner,” Mayor of Kharkiv Ihor Terekhov said.

The planned project covers the upgrade of Kharkiv tram network and services by the acquisition of new trams and modernising the tracks, systems and depot infrastructure.

The grant will allow the Kharkiv City Council to prepare coherent and feasible investment programme for EIB financing which is expected to start the works as soon as Russian aggression will end.

The agreement is “the right step in this direction which allows us to review and modernize public transport planning in Ukraine, and create modern, efficient, safer, and green mobility for Kharkiv. Reconstruction of local transport infrastructure through projects like this will be a priority in the effort to normalize lives faster,” EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska, who is in charge of EIB operations in Ukraine said.

In June, the city’s municipality announced that the Saltivske Tram Depot has been destroyed and does not allow transport operation due to the war which led to electricity cut off. 20 tram cars survived to attack and they had to be removed from the depot. During the Russian shelling, 60 tram cars were completely destroyed while other 60 tram cars suffered various damages. In addition, 150 Karsan buses based at the depot were destroyed and other 120 vehicles are damaged. Before the war, two special sites were planned at the depot to service the rolling stock and bus fleet.

The modernisation of the tram system is the priority task of the master plan to rebuild Kharkiv and its Urban Electric Surface Transport Development Programme for the period 2021-2025, which had already been approved before the war.

In 2021, the EIB announced it will appraise the programme focusing on the development of Kharkiv tram system including the procurement of new vehicles, the modernisation of the related equipment to develop an efficient and comfortable urban electric transport services. EUR 100 million was the total value of the project, with a proposed EIB finance of EUR 75 million.

Before the war the Kharkiv City Council has launched the public transport development plan to modernise the transport services and bring them to the European standard by the procurement of new low-floor trams and modernise the entire infrastructure. It was expected that after programme completion, the passenger traffic could increase by 18 million per year.

DCH, a company owned by Oleksandr Yaroslavsky, announced in 2021 a EUR 5.5 million investment to design and manufacture new low-floor trams at the Ecopolis HTZ high-tech business park in Kharkiv. The businessman planned a in collaboration with its partners from the Czech Republic which were expected to deliver engineering and consulting support.

The programme will deliver socio-economic benefits and savings in terms of travel time, vehicle operating costs and road accident costs and will also have a positive impact on the environment from shifting road transport to sustainable public transport modes.

In February 2022, Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance announced that the government ratified the financing agreement with the EIB to start the Ukraine Urban Public Transport project phase II. Under the agreement the EIB will provide a EUR 200 million loan for the purchase of 20 trams, 264 trolleybuses and 65 electric buses as well as new metro cars. The obtained funds will enable cities to develop electric transport infrastructure and route network in Ukraine. The construction and modernisation of tram and bus infrastructure will be carried out in the cities of Cherkasy, Bila Tserkva, Kamianske, Dnipro, Lviv, Kremenchuk and Zaporizhia. Previously, within the framework of this project, cities will have an opportunity to receive funds for the upgrade and modernisation as well as the expansion of public transport infrastructure as well as for the programmes to acquire new vehicles.

Tram acquisition covers the following cities:

  • Kamianske – 10 new trams
  • Kryvyy Rih – 10 new trams
  • Dnipro – besides tram procurement, the funds will also cover the reconstruction of tram lines and the depots.
  • Zaporizhia – with funds supporting the reconstruction of tram track and the catenary
  • Lviv – the funding will support the overhaul of tram cars and reconstruction of the tram track

In other 13 cities, the EIB funding will support the acquisition of approximately 350 trolleybuses and electric buses.

The Ukraine Urban Public Transport programme is co-funded by the EIB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and since 2017, when the project started, projects have been implemented in 10 cities including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and Zaporizhia.

The transport projects supported by the EIB cover the extension and upgrade of Kharkiv metro which received EUR 160 million loan (signed in 2017). The EIB also provided a EUR 10 million loan to Kharkiv to upgrade its trolleybus fleet and EUR 45 million to purchase new metro cars in 2020 under the Ukraine Urban Public Transport Project framework loan.

Photos: Kharkiv City Council

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