Train stations and railway segments closed due to low number of passengers

Passenger trains do not run on at least ten railway segments because of the low number of passengers and the war in Ukraine due to which the Chisinau-Odessa, Chisinau-St.Petersburg and Chisinau-Moscow routes were closed. Several years ago, the state decided to close a number of train stations as they generated financial losses, IPN reports, quoting RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service.

Over three decades ago, the platform of the station in Căinari village of Căușeni district was too small for the passengers who travelled to Tighina, Basarabeasca and Chisinau. Many of them worked at enterprises of Moldova’s Railways in Basarabeasca and Tighina. Locals travelled by train also when they went shopping, while the young people profited from the cheap transport to go to study in Chisinau.

After the war of 1992, the regime in Tiraspol banned the trains’ access to the Transnistrian region and the passengers could no longer reach Tighina or Chisinau by train.

In 2005, the authorities rehabilitated the Revaca-Căinari railway station and circulation to the capital city was resumed. But an increasing number of passengers chose to travel by route minibuses so as to get to the destination faster even if the fare is higher. The number of passengers decreased also due to the fact that many of those who worked at railway enterprises remained without a job. This way, no passenger train since 2016 has travelled through the Căinari Station. Currently, only freight trains use that station.

Căinari Station director Anatolie Nebunelea said the number of passengers who travelled by train daily stood at about 300 and could reach 500. “Many years ago, the station was full of people. We had even up to 60 employees. Times have changed. Everything has changed,” he stated with regret, noting the station now employs 16 persons.

According to the information provided to RFE/RL by Moldova’s Railways, passenger trains no longer run on the sections: Mămăliga-Ocnița, Brătușeni-Rediul Mare, Glodeni-Bălți, Unchitești-Slobodca, Revaca-Căinari, Căinari-Cuciurgan, Căinari-Basarabeasca, Basarabeasca-Giurgiulești, Giurgiulești-Prut 2, and Prut 2-Basarabeasca.

The company said yet that a number of train stations had been repaired the last ten years, such as those in Chisinau, Ocnița, Ungheni, Bălți, Basarabeasca, Bulboaca, Etulia. The Bălți-Slobozia and Ocnița stations are being renovated at present. “There is no annual budget for stations and all the necessary repair works are executed at request.”

Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development Andrei Spînu on September 14 presented a plan for reconstructing Moldova’s infrastructure for the next few years. He promised that the 233 km-long Bender-Basarabeasca-Etulia-Giurgiulești and the 400 km-long Văleni-Cahul railway sections will be rehabilitated and at least 1,000 new wagons, primarily for grain, and 30 switcher locomotives will be bought. Increasing the travel speed of trains from under 40 km/h to 150 km/h, which is the average in the EU, is another important objective.

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