The people who keep the refugee trains running

out of Ukraine

Ukrainian Railways employs more than 230,000 people

have stayed in the country to work, according to Oleksandr Kamyshin, the company’s CEO.

Making long, dangerous journeys every day to get people to safety

While stations in the areas under Russian occupation are now closed, the trains have continued running even to cities like Kharkiv, which has been under constant Russian fire.

Viacheslav Chumak, 43, who runs the evacuation train from Kyiv to Lviv.

I work for the Ukrzaliznytsia from 1996 and I have travelled all over Ukraine: Kyiv-Lviv, Kyiv-Kostiantynivka, Kyiv-Dnipro, Kyiv-Kharkiv.

I am feeling a sense of anxiety from doing my job.

How can you look at the children’s eyes, who are scared, and at their mothers, who are going nowhere.

Their soul is torn and their heart aches.

As a train driver I see what is going on.”

Ukrainian train manager Dmytro Yaroshenko on board his Uzhhorod-Kyiv train.

We turn the lights off for the section of the journey around Kyiv, and anywhere that might be dangerous, as well as if the train stops. Who knows who might be hiding in the bushes,” he said, on a recent journey towards the Ukrainian capital.

He said he had no qualms about continuing to work during wartime, and saw his own role as part of the overall Ukrainian war effort.

Tetjana was working as a train conductor

Tetjana, 36, and her daughter Sofia, 5 from Sumy, a city that has been under attack by Russian forces since the beginning of the invasion.

Tetjana was working as a train conductor on evacuation trains but for the sake of her daughter’s safety she says she now decided to flee the country herself.

She was the last person to leave the apartment building in which they were living.

They are on their way to Przemyśl in an evacuation train themselves, which is at a stop in Lviv.

Eugen Zagoruk, train driver on the route Lviv – Przemyśl.

“I run the evacuation train in the western direction.

To the stations Mostyska, Sambir, Syanky, Lavochne, Mukachevo and Uzhhorod.

The journey from here to Poland takes 21 hours, and they already traveled from the east for who knows how many hours.

When we arrive in Poland, they still have to go somewhere else and it is impossible to know how many hours that will all take.”

Roman Gasyuk, an evacuation train diver, in his cabin at a stop in Lviv

Doing final checks before departure to Przemyśl, Poland.

I’m doing evacuation routes from Lviv to Przemyśl.

Lviv can not provide enough beds for refugees and while Europe is accepting them we need to give them the opportunity to reach safe place during the war.

Yes, our profession is kind of dangerous because we might have attacks on the way, but still I think that risk is low because our territorial defence units are looking after our safety, controlling all bridges and all securing the vulnerable places.

Olexiy Stasenko, 31, runs the evacuation train from Zhmerynka, Ukraine.

His family remains in Zhmerynka. When asked if he is planning to evacuate them he says: “Why? Why would I evacuate them? If we leave, who will be here to protect our country?” His longest route was 17 hours.

Then they rest for 6 hours and go again.

Today we are doing the evacuation route from Zhmerynka, we departed at 06:24 am.

We will have a rest now and then we will be driving back. We have huge amounts of passengers, everyone is leaving. For sure it’s dangerous, but we were are well prepared for it.

Evacuees from Eastern Ukraine rest in a tent set up

at a platform in Lviv’s central station.

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