By Valentin Kovalev
Several innovations are now being launched to improve passenger comfort at Kalinkovichi railway station. The latest generation diesel trains were introduced in May and June, being radically different from those used by Belarusian Railways on suburban lines over the last 20-30 years. Not only are they more fuel efficient but they can travel about 30kmh faster, give a smoother ride and boast more comfortable seats. They also have contemporary air conditioning and heating systems and offer seats for those with wheelchairs or large-size luggage.
Six such trains are to be introduced across the regions by Belarusian Railways as part of its renovation of passenger transport. But why has Kalinkovichi received the honour of paving the way? Of course, it is a major railway hub crossed by roads leading to many cities across Belarus, as well as to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Odessa and Chisinau. Passengers cross the border at Kalinkovichi to travel south, so it also boasts a customs point.
The station has also been designated as a pilot site for transport innovations since Soviet times. Pleasingly, in 2009, its staff won first place in a competition against Belarusian colleagues, as well as against those of Moscow Railways and the South-Western Railway of Ukraine.
Since 2007, Kalinkovichi has been implementing a vital Republican project, reorganising its sorting yard to reduce the number of manoeuvres needed to move trains and to enhance working efficiency, especially during journeys. Other important aspects include ways to enhance security and improve conditions for workers. The results of the reconstruction are soon to be assessed, explains the head of Kalinkovichi station, Sergey Grishchenko, who tells us, “The first stage should come into operation this September.”