Free rail journey offered to Ukrainian refugees who arrive in Britain

·2-min read
Refugees who fled neighbouring Ukraine at the border crossing in Palanca, Moldova (Sergei Grits/AP) (AP)
Refugees who fled neighbouring Ukraine at the border crossing in Palanca, Moldova (Sergei Grits/AP) (AP)

Train operators have offered free onward travel for Ukrainian refugees who arrive in Britain.

Rail Delivery Group (RDG) chief executive Jac Starr said the scheme, which is aimed at helping people reach their final British destinations, will begin on Sunday because “as an industry we know this is the right thing to do”.

Refugees will have to show a Ukrainian passport and a boarding pass or ticket showing their arrival into the UK in order to get free travel on the national rail network.

All train operators in Britain are involved, the RDG said, with many bus and coach operators are also offering free onward travel to final destinations.

Ms Starr said: “We have all been shocked by the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine.

“As an industry we know this is the right thing to do, making sure families affected by this tragedy can be reunited as quickly as possible, and helping others get to safety.

“Similar schemes have been launched on the Continent so I am proud that we are standing alongside our European rail family and doing what we can to help.”

In order to make use of the scheme, Ukrainian nationals must have arrived in Britain in the past 48 hours.

The initiative will run for three months and then be reviewed, an RDG spokesman said.

A child who fled the war in Ukraine waits in a bus after arriving in Poland (Petros Giannakouris/AP) (AP)
A child who fled the war in Ukraine waits in a bus after arriving in Poland (Petros Giannakouris/AP) (AP)

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ordered by President Vladimir Putin has led to the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War, according to the UN’s high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi.

Millions of people, largely made up of women and children, have fled their homes to try and find safety. Men of fighting age have remained in Ukraine.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are working tirelessly to help Ukrainians travelling to Britain fleeing conflict.

“It is hugely welcome that the transport industry has come together to offer free rail, tram, bus and coach onward travel from any international port, airport or train station.

“The UK stands with the Ukrainian people and those fleeing Putin’s brutal invasion.”

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