Ukrainian grain goes by train

In the middle of winter you would never think that anything other than ice and snow cover the Ukrainian countryside, yet come summer the country becomes the “breadbasket of Europe”, as one of the world’s largest corn and wheat exporters.

This little used level crossing doesn't have gates or a gatekeeper

To store the harvest, grain silos can be found all across the countryside.

Steel grain silos at Popilnia (Попільня), Ukraine

Some railway sidings have smaller silo complexes.

Loading grain wagons at a Ukrainian silo

Others are far larger.

Tiny 0-4-0 diesel shunter at work beside a modern grain silo in Ukraine

And all across the railway network, rakes of bottom discharge grain hoppers can be found, even in the middle of winter.

Ukrainian Railways train of grain hopper wagons

Grain wagons

As of 2014 Укрзалізниця (Ukrainian Railways) operated a fleet of 12,960 wagons for the carriage of grain – enough to carry 40 million tonnes of grain a year.

The local name for the wagon type is ‘хоппер, для зерна’ (hopper, for grain) and they all bear the ’22 / UA’ UIC country code to enable interchange traffic into Europe if required, and are numbered in the ’95xx xxxx’ group.

Ukrainian Railways grain wagons at Koziatyn (Козятин)

Some statistics

In 2013 Ukraine achieved a record sized harvest of 62 million tonnes, which included 21.5 million tonnes of wheat and 31 million tonnes of maize.

In the January to April 2014 period, 7.7 million tonnes of grain was sent to port by rail for export and 700,700 tonnes transported to supply the domestic market – an increase of 20% over the previous year.

Ukrainian Railways grain wagons


The Soviet famine of 1932–33 disrupted the major grain-producing areas of the Soviet Union, including Ukraine, and resulted in the deaths of millions in those areas.

Further reading

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2 Responses to Ukrainian grain goes by train

  1. David Blakley (Давид Блэкли) says:

    Я любил фотографии хранения зерна и поездов Украины. Я посетил Украину и Крым в июле 2004 года и надеюсь когда-нибудь вернуться, когда война урок истории.

    С уважением,

    Давид Блэкли

    • David – glad you liked the post, I hope to return to Ukraine one day as well.

      Google Translate version of David’s comment:

      I loved the photos of grain storage and Ukrainian trains. I visited Ukraine and Crimea in July 2004 and I hope to return someday when the war is a history lesson.

      Yours faithfully,

      David Blakely

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