A food train is ready in Ukraine to cook 10,000 meals a day
Ukrainian Railways and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation launched the “world’s first food train”. This autonomous kitchen on rails is able to produce and deliver hot meals to the Ukrainian cities in territories with serious damage to logistics and electricity networks, gas and water supply and across the de-occupied territories.
After hospital trains were deployed on Ukrainian railway tracks, now a food train is the next humanitarian train to assist Ukrainian citizens during the war. Ukrainian Railways started preparing for the winter of 2023/2024 at the beginning of the year. Just like last winter, Russia already started targeting energy facilities again. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation fully funded the creation and operation of the kitchen train.
The American businessman and philanthropist repeatedly traveled through Kharkiv Oblast, Donetsk Oblast, Mykolaiv Oblast, and the Kherson Oblast. Notably, he met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier this year to discuss aid to Ukraine, where Zelenskyy thanked Buffet for his support of a ‘kitchen factory’ in Bucha. This facility produces large amounts of meals to be distributed to Ukrainian schools.
During these visits, Buffet travelled on Ukrzaliznytsia trains. Thus, the idea was born to build a train that would make it possible to feed Ukrainians in territories with serious damage to logistics and electricity networks, gas and water supply. Following 9 months later, the world’s first 6-car kitchen train has already been tested and is ready to go anywhere in the country where it is needed. All food train wagons underwent major repairs and full modernisation at Ukrzaliznytsia facilities.
10,000 meals a day
Nicknamed Snowpiercer, the train is 150 meters long and consists of 6 wagons. It includes a generator wagon with 400 kW capacity, a refrigerator wagon with a freezer, a cold kitchen for pre-cooking and cold meals, a hot kitchen for hot meals; a staff wagon for the railway crew and cooks, featuring a shower and a washing machine, and a baggage wagon holding 27,000 litres of water with filtration and pumping stations.
The food train had its test launch in Kyiv on 22 September. On that day, cooks served a thousand hot meals in 2 hours to Save Ukraine volunteers, passengers of the evacuation flight from Sumy, as well as residents of shelters in Irpen and Bucha.
The food train is designed to operate autonomously for 5 to 7 days a week. With 7 railway workers to support the operational activities of the train and 14 cooks on board, 10,000 meals per day can be prepared on the train. The train’s equipment allows to prepare complete meals, suc has soups, porridges, salads and meat, says UZ. Special thermoboxes make it easy to transport ready-made lunchboxes with food from the train to the end consumer.
“Railwaymen continue to save the civilian population and are among the first to come to help where it is most needed. Together with the Howard Buffett Foundation, they launched another unique project that has no parallel”, said Yevhen Lyashchenko, chairman of the board of Ukrzaliznytsia . “The food train has already passed a test check, and in the near future the joint team of Ukrzaliznytsia and the foundation will be on permanent duty in the most difficult front-line areas of Ukraine, where heat and food are critically important for life.”