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Ukrainian Railways is improving infrastructure to raise the throughput of railways, increase the freight and passenger traffic and reduce the operating costs. Thus, in 2014, it will begin electrifying Dolinskaya-Nikolayev route, the shortest way to deliver cargos to ports of Nikolayev and Odessa region, the Information-Analytical Bulletin of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine informs.
Ukrainian Railways are currently completing plans to electrify 148 kilometers of track on the route. Experts say that electrified trains will promote development of freight and transit traffic, as this route is used to carry cargos from Russian Federation to Black Sea ports. Following the upgrade, the company is planning to redirect some trains from overloaded direction Znamenka — Pomoshnaia — Kolosovka. Now, 20 pairs of cargo, 24 passenger, and 3 commuter trains run in the area Dolinskaya — Nikolayev.
Due to electrification, the speed of freight trains will be increased by 20–25%, thus reducing the time of delivery. Electrification will ensure better transportation terms for shippers, including those resulting from reduced cost of transportation (by 55–60%). A switch to electric traction will also reduce consumption of diesel fuel by 3.7 times. Analysts say use of electric locomotives which are more powerful, instead of diesel ones will ensure formation of trains with more cargo.
During electrification work, the entire infrastructure will be upgraded. The plans are to upgrade the automation and communication devices and introduce modern (microprocessor-based) security and traffic control systems, which, in comparison with old relay systems of railway automatics, have better functionality and efficiency. Also, three new substations will be built and the available ones will be reconstructed.
Experts say the upgrade of railway infrastructure will stimulate the associated sectors, as 99% of domestically produced equipment and materials are envisioned to be used. Electrification of direction will contribute to preservation and creation of jobs, the railway power-supply department alone will require about 200 new jobs.
Also, following the commissioning of electrified area, maintenance staff of divisions and tracks will be increased, as well as the other technical services of Odessa railways.
In the long term, it is planned to increase electric traction areas in direction Kherson — Vadim — Jankoi, which will establish a large electric traction segment to Crimea.
Experts say the global experience shows that electrification of railways has a number of advantages. Thus, due to electric traction, high power of locomotives is achieved at lower operating costs. Increased length of electrified areas will improve technical and economic performance of railway transport, while increasing its competitiveness. Another important factor is that it can significantly reduce the level of harmful emissions into atmosphere. This will increase the level of environmental safety in Nikolayev and Kirovograd region.
At present, operating network of Ukrainian railways includes almost 22,000 km of tracks, 47.4% of which is electrified. For comparison, the electrified part Russian railways is 50.3%, while in Europe this figure is 45.7%. In terms of absolute length of electrified railways, Ukraine takes the 10th place in the world and 6th place in Europe.