Border Crossings: Poland - Ukraine
Note that there is a one hour time difference between Poland and Ukraine. Users should check whether or not Ukraine is using Daylight Saving Time.
(Chełm -) Dorohusk PKP - Yahodyn UZ (- Kovel')
[D] The cross-border section comprises one 1435 mm gauge track and one 1520 mm gauge track. 1435 mm gauge track extends eastwards to a shipment yard at Kovel, 59 km east of Yahodyn. 1520 mm gauge track extends westwards to an oil installation a few km west of Chełm. Both gauges are used by freight over their full length. The 1435 mm gauge track is electrified as far as Dorohusk.
PKP operates a long standing Warszawa - Kyïv overnight service on the 1435mm gauge tracks to/from Yahodyn, where gauge changing takes place by means of bogie exchange. The train thus changes to/from PKP diesel traction for the short cross-border journey; this is the only PKP operated passenger service east of Chelm.
Refugee trains on the Broad Guage using Ukrainian Railway DMU's served Chelm from 2 March 2022, then a pair of scheduled overnights using the Broad gauge allegedly commenced on 4/5 May 2022 with two additional pairs added later. Timings are included in the PKP Journey planner [but not PDFs] and observations confirm Ukrainian diesels are used to/from Chelm.
Prior to the war the 1520 mm gauge cross border passenger service had ended by June 2000 until a daytime pair of Ukrainian DMUs recommenced on 12 June 2017 between Kovel and Chelm, coinciding with the end of visa requirements for Ukrainians. From 24 August 2017 they were extended within Ukraine to run from/to Zdolbuniv via Rivne and this was initially successful and increased to two pairs. Subsequently reduced to one pair at the December 2018 Timetable change, from 9 June 2019 this only operated to Dorohusk with a bus to/from Chelm allegedly due to a Customs dispute with the Polish Authorities concerning fuel duty and even that service was withdrawn after running on the 18 June 2019.
(Sławków -) Hrubieszów LHS - Izov LHS
[D] This 1520mm gauge line is the "Linia Hutnicza Szerokotorowa" (Broad-Gauge Steel Line) between Sławków near Katowice and Vladimir in Ukraine. A limited long distance International passenger service ended some years ago, so current use is only freight services and LHS do not have a passenger train licence, nor any passenger coaches. Exceptionally Ukrainian Railways coaches hauled by LHS locomotives operated into Poland as far as Olkusz for a short period from 28 February 2022 with war refugees and afterwards LHS confirmed they have no plans to operate passenger services.
Letters of Intent to electrify from Kowel in the Ukraine to Hrubieszów were signed in April 2017. In at least 2009 cross border staff trains ran to the railway carriage works at Hrubieszów Towarowy from Izov with timings based on shift patterns but it is not recommended to attempt to travel due to Ukraine Border controls. This line was formerly part of PKP and called the "Steel and Sulphur Railway".
Hrebenne PKP - Rava Rus'ka UZ
[D] 1435mm. A daily [with odd exceptions] train pair to/from Rava Rus'ka and Warszawa operated as a commercial venture by SKPL re-opened this line on commencing on 15 October 2023. Note ticketing is only via Ukrainian Railways.
The previous PKP-operated 1435mm gauge through service to/from Warszawa that had only commenced on 2 June 1996 was withdrawn after 3 June 2005, and the line has no freight traffic as the tracks to the interchange sidings at Rava Rus'ka have been lifted. For freight PKP have said they see no need for this line as the alternative of Rava Rus'ka to Werchrata has capacity for five pairs a day and the average monthly 2022 use was one train in one direction.
8km of this line is within Ukraine, 2km in Poland, and as via Hrebenne is the shortest rail route to/from Warszawa, Ukrainian Railways have announced they plan to start dual gauge rail laying from Rava Rus'ka towards the planned terminal in Bryukhovtsi near Lviv later in 2023.
Werchrata PKP - Rava Rus'ka UZ
[D] A Broad gauge freight only crossing, now worked by UZ only to open air transhipment platform to the east of Werchrata station. Press notices advise over 300,000 tons of goods were transhipped in 2020, primarily clay, salt and aggregates matching with 2018 YouTube videos of PKP freights and open topped double-bogied mineral wagons. There are storage sidings on both gauges alongside the PKP station but the 1520 mm lines to the south of Werchrata have been out of use for decades.
(Przemyśl -) Medyka PKP - Mostys'ka 2 UZ (- L'viv)
[E] From Przemyśl Główny station there are separate standard and broad gauge tracks which in Poland take totally different routes either side of large transhipment yards between Hurko and Medyka which at maximum are 650m apart. From Medyka PKP across the border is parallel two tracks, of which at least one is interlaced.
PKP and UZ had operated a long standing daily overnight service between Kyiv/L'viv and both Wrocław and Warszawa but this was withdrawn at the 11 December 2022 timetable change leaving only an increased level of Broad Gauge passenger trains crossing the border. There are gauge changing facilities just east of Przemyśl Główny [lifting jacks for bogie change with associated locomotive shunts] and Mostys'ka 2 [open air SUW 2000 - for compatible bogied coaches] and either saw use for SG/BG bogie change over time, the SUW 2000 equipment coming into use on 15 December 2003. Use of the SUW 2000 equipment later ceased as it was observed out of use in October 2017 but had resumed by April 2018. The Przemyśl Główny arrival/departure sheets in 2019 confirmed only the standard gauge platforms were used by this service meaning either bogie changer could then be used. See Lines with Obscure or Sparse passenger services (Przemyśl Główny –) Hurko – Medyka (– Mostys'ka 2).
The use by purely Broad Gauge services to the platforms at Przemyśl Główny is equally complicated as UZ had run long distance day and (seasonal) overnight loco hauled services until they ended on 8 December 2012 until a daytime Kyiv - L'viv - Przemyśl resumed on 23 December 2016 using a modern EMU. This service was doubled on 24 August 2017 when Ukrainian Citizens no longer needed visas to visit the EU, serving a different route between L'viv and Kyiv. An overnight Kyiv - Przemyśl, again using the same EMU's commenced on 20/21 April 2022 and by December 2023 the service was up to five pairs daily.
UZ works broad gauge freight to yards within Poland. The 1520 mm gauge line splits at Hurko into a branch to a transshipment depot at Krówniki, the passenger line to Przemyśl Glowny and a freight line avoiding Przemyśl to yards at Zurawica. PKP works standard gauge freight trains into Ukraine with the 1435 mm gauge track ending at a transshipment facility 3 km east of Mostys'ka 2 station.
Note in the PKP 2023/24 PDFs that the local standard gauge service from Przemyśl Główny via stations on line 91 is no longer advertised to the last stop at Medyka. This is assumed to be related to its close proximity to the rail and road border crossing.
(Przemyśl -) Malhowice PKP - Nyzhankovychi UZ (- Dobromyl' - Khyriv)
[D] PKP PLK completed an upgrade to passenger carrying standards of what is only SG tracks from Przemyśl to the border at Malhowice in Autumn 2022, [even refurbishing the intermediate closed station platforms] and a 31 July 2023 Press Article claimed UZ have refurbished their SG rails, and PKP helped build a new SG platform at Nyzhankovychi so passenger services could start "soon". Then an article in October 2023 claimed various issues including obtaining insurance cover for the PKP stock and passenger passport controls were not in place so no services could commence. A February 2024 update advised no progress has been made and confirmed not even freight trains could operate until these issues were resolved.
In any event there are no plans to re-instate the corridor route to Zagorz but it is unclear if any new service would go further within the Ukraine towards Khyriv as UZ by February 2023 had reinstated dual gauge track. This is all happening despite there being no freight trans-shipment infrastructure at Nyzhankovychi as historically this was only a border station on a through standard gauge corridor route where PKP operated a 1435mm gauge Warszawa - Zagorz train through Ukraine via this route and the Krościenko - Star'iava border crossing until early 1995. By July 2004, significant lengths of the 1435mm gauge track within Ukraine had been lifted north of Dobromyl' but following the lifting of Visa restrictions on Ukrainians, some repair work was undertaken by both UZ and PKP in Autumn 2016, and by December 2018 there had apparently been ten cross-border Przemyśl to Nyzhankovychi trains with politicians, tourists, journalists and volunteers on board.
(Sanok - Ustrzyki Dolne -) Krościenko PKP - Star'iava UZ (- Khyriv)
[D] Closed since a short resumption of passenger traffic ended on 9 November 2010 but Web photos and a February 2023 press article confirmed UZ had totally relaid their side of the border with interlaced track to Stariava, and SG track to the border. However the Polish track is in poor condition although PKP allowed DMU's for Ukrainian refugees to travel west from Kroscienko on just a few days notice with a first train on 3 March 2022, but this unfortunately derailed between Ustianowa - Olszanica with no injuries. It took until 24 March 2022 for further spot repairs and the next train to run from the staff platform at the joint road/rail border control 3.3km further east from Kroscienko station. There have been no further press comments on additional services so it is assumed these have since ceased.
As at January 2024, even though private operator SKPL have apparently received Government approval to run cross border passengers services, [press comment suggesting to commence from December 15 2024], the permitted track speed on the PKP PLK tracks varies from just 20 to 50 kmh and PKP PLK admit funds are not currently allocated for upgrade works estimated to cost between 250-500M PLN. SKPL already provide the PKP timetabled service on the Summer Tourist service to Ustrzyki Dolne/Mineralna that commenced on 26 June 2021, Saturdays only Krakow – Lupkow (late June to late September) direct to Uherce, reverse, return to Zagorz and onwards to Lupkow, [thereby doing both sides of the triangle north of Zagorz with return on the Sunday doing the same route in reverse] plus the three times daily Sanok to Ustrzyki Dolne service introduced from 1 March 2023.
Previously after Ukrainian Visa restrictions were lifted it is known SKPL operated a demonstration special to Khyriv on 25 June 2017 but pre-war, PKP advised in April 2020 they had no plans to reinstate a cross border corridor service, [see the above entry for the latest on the remainder of that route to Przemysl]. In the Ukraine an internal passenger service of two trains per day ran on the 1520mm gauge of the interlaced track between Khyriv and Stariava, and prior to cross border closure PKP had operated 1435mm gauge passenger services between Sanok (Zagórz before 2004/2005) and Khyriv. Freight trains continued between Sanok and Ustrzyki Dolne until 15 December 2013, since then a Draisine operation has been travelling east from Ustrzyki Dolne station but even so a Turkol DMU special managed to reach the Ursa Major brewery 1km east of Ustrzyki Dolne in October 2020.