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Class I railroads donate over $2 million for Ukraine relief

Four Class I railroads have donated nearly $2.3 million to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and the surrounding region.

These donations come among broader efforts by European and American rail groups to support Ukrainian freight and passenger rail (see below). Rail equipment manufacturers Wabtec (NYSE: WAB) and Greenbrier (NYSE: GRB) have also said previously that they are supporting their employees’ efforts to donate to humanitarian efforts in the region.

Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP) is the latest to announce that it will support relief efforts in Ukraine by providing $500,000 to the American Red Cross and Save the Children. The donation will be split between the two groups. UP also said it is conducting a 2:1 match for employees, with nearly $50,000 as of Tuesday. Donations have been provided to the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, UNICEF, Global Giving Foundation, Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children.

“Our hearts are with the Ukrainian people who did nothing to provoke this attack and whose lives are irrevocably changed,” said UP Chairman Lance Fritz, who also serves as the railroad’s president and CEO. “Our employees’ charitable donations clearly demonstrate they’re taking a stand with the Ukrainian people, and we’re proud to let their generosity guide our corporate contribution to two of many worthy organizations providing immediate aid.”

Earlier this month, Kansas City Southern pledged to provide $500,000 to the American Red Cross, and it said it would match employees’ contributions to the American Red Cross for this effort as well.

Canadian Pacific (NYSE: CP) said on March 9 that it pledged CA$500,000 (US$399,000) to the Canadian Red Cross and that it would match employee donations to the Canadian Red Cross and American Red Cross over the next 30 days. CP will also match donations to other aid agencies supporting Ukraine relief efforts via CP’s employee charitable giving program.

Meanwhile, Canadian railway CN (NYSE: CNI) has made a combined donation of CA$1.1 million (US$879,000) to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation and to Razom in the U.S. in support of displaced Ukrainians.

CN will also be matching donations through its employees’ and pensioners’ community fund.

“This donation will allow the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, as well as Razom in the United States, to continue providing humanitarian assistance and relief to displaced persons by offering medical care, emergency shelter and food,” CN President and CEO Tracy Robinson said in a March 16 release.

“Our company’s history is tied to the settlement of Western Canada by Ukrainians and we are proud to have CN employees, retirees and stakeholders in both Canada and the U.S. who are of Ukrainian descent,” Robinson said.

European and US rail sector officials form group to support Ukrainian rail interests

The support by Class I railroads and other rail companies over this past month come as rail sector officials in Europe and the U.S. form a multinational Support Ukraine Rail Task Force that will coordinate technical, mechanical and policy support for Ukrainian freight and passenger rail companies.

The task force consists of Jolene Molitoris, former administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration; Nick Brooks, secretary general of the Alliance of Rail New Entrants in Europe, also known as Allrail; Ray Chambers, president of the American Association for Innovative Passenger Rail Operations; and Robert VanderClute, former senior vice president of the Association of American Railroads and former vice chair of UIC, an international railway organization based in Paris.

“We are horrified by the unprovoked invasion of a free and independent country,” Molitoris said. “The task force will coordinate efforts to ensure the Ukrainian rail network has the immediate technical support to continue in service.

“In the near term, the task force will work with lawmakers and regulators to provide ongoing assistance,” such as facilitating the movement of evacuation trains across the continent, Molitoris said. “Longer term, we will help Ukraine rebuild and renew with its rail system as a central part of the recovery.”

This article originally appeared on Freight Waves

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