Slovakia launches new train to Ukraine
Slovak national passenger operator ZSSK has launched a new train connection to Ukraine. In around four hours, the railbus delivers passengers from Košice, the second largest city in Slovakia, to Mukachevo, an important railway junction in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine. The vehicle runs on the Europen-gauge railway that comes forward from the Ukrainian-Slovak border to Mukachevo.
The first train on the Košice – Mukachevo route ran on 9 June. The service is provided twice a day in each direction. The train departs from Košice railway station at 09.10 and 12.01, from Mukachevo station – at 14.54 and 18.20. The connection is served by the type 813 railbus composed of two cars. It has two stops at the border stations of Čierna nad Tisou and Chop.
A basic ticket for the entire trip costs 7.50 Euros, from Košice to Čierna nad Tisou – 6.80 Euros, from Čierna nad Tisou to Mukachevo – 4.50 Euros, between Čierna nad Tisou and Chop – 3.80 Euros. There is also a special fare for children that is twice cheaper than the ordinary ticket. The railbus has a special area for carrying prams and bicycles. The bike fee is 3 Euros per vehicle. The place reservation for bicycles is compulsory.
Mukachevo gateway to EU
With launching the new train service, the city of Mukachevo has improved its position of Ukrainian gateway to the European Union. In December 2018, Hungarian State Railways (MÁV) opened a daily connection between Mukachevo and Budapest. Several international wagons operated by Ukrainian Railway also stop at Mukachevo railway station. This service includes the Vienna – Budapest – Kyiv and Košice – Kyiv links. Moreover, Czech open-access rail operators Leo Express and RegioJet provide bus service between Mukachevo and Košice to link the Transcarpathian region with their trains to Prague.
Type 813 railbus
The type 813 railbus is a widely popular vehicle on the regional routes in Czechia and Slovakia. The two-car trains had been producing in 1975-1985 by Vagónka Studenka in Ostrava, Czechia (now the company is a part of Škoda Transportation). In the second half of the 2000s, the railbuses were modernised by Slovak rolling stock maintenance company ŽOS Zvolen. The railbuses can speed up to 90 kilometres per hour and have a total capacity for carrying 194 passengers, 83 of them can travel on seats.