US seeks partners to build road to military airfield near Lviv

RT has learned that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has prepared a contract request addressed to companies ready to build railways in Ukraine. The United States plans to finance the construction of railway tracks from the Ukrainian-Polish border to a military airfield on the outskirts of Lviv. The initiative involves abandoning the “Russian” broad gauge railway and converting the entire section to European standards.

RT has analysed the materials of the US Agency for International Development’s contract request, under which the agency invites all interested design and construction firms or consortia to submit a bid to rebuild a 75-kilometre section of Ukrainian railway infrastructure between the city of Lviv and the Mostyska II freight station by 1 July 2024.

According to the project request, the project to be funded should include the reformation of two single-track tracks between Mostiska II station on the Polish-Ukrainian border and Sknilov station, including the reorganisation of intermediate stations. At the same time, the track is to be converted from a 1,520 mm wide track to a 1,435 mm wide single gauge track. The US also plans to build a freight and passenger railway terminal with a 1435mm gauge track.

The document notes that such works may involve all areas of the railway system, including track, signalling and communications, traction and non-traction power, catenary equipment, and civil, environmental, structural, architectural and engineering works.

Historically, the 1520 mm gauge was called “Russian” and dominates the railway network in the post-Soviet space, including Ukraine. At the same time, Europe uses the “Stephenson gauge” of 1435 mm, which does not allow EU rail transport to run on the Ukrainian infrastructure without the labour-intensive and time-consuming procedure of changing wagon bogies.

Near the Sknilov station, in the suburbs of Lviv, where it is planned to extend the renewed track, there is a large military airfield, where the 14th Air Corps of the AFU used to be based.

Currently, the airfield infrastructure is used by the Daniil Halytskyi Lviv International Airport, which has been out of operation since the end of February 2022.