THE FINDINGS of a team of government investigators into the running of the 22510 route-km broad gauge Ukrainian Railways network have caused a sensation. Following publication of a detailed report for the National Security Council, President Kuchma decided to take drastic action. The ensuing presidential decree demands nothing less than ’the restoration of order on the national railway’. Given that the report records lack of discipline, revenues allocated to privately-owned ’pocket’ forwarding companies and loss of traffic caused by a ’destructive’ tariff policy, there is plenty to be done.

Not that the management responsible for the various transgressions will be able to put things right, as many of them have been fired. President of the L’viv Railway Mr G Kirpa has been appointed to take charge (p410) and four of the six regional railway directors have been replaced. Kirpa is now personally controlling tariffs, finance and operations.

  • Russian Railways’ freight traffic is on the rise again, with tonnage up 17% for the first six months of this year compared to 1999. Given this improvement, a June meeting of the presidents of the regional railways voted to retain centralised management, while separating operational functions from the Ministry of Railways. Private investment is to be attracted, asset renewal is to be stepped up and measures taken to better motivate staff.