This Kiev – Vinnytsia – Odessa high-speed rail line (HSL) is part of a series of proposals. Read the introduction: high-speed rail in the Ukraine.
Alignments are not given in detail. The proposals are intended to form a schematic outline of a high-speed network in the Ukraine, and lines to the rest of Europe.
Unlike the other proposals, this line would fully parallel an existing main line (with a new cut-off section south of Vinnytsia). However, it is not an isolated project: it is interdependent with other possible high-speed routes. The Kiev – Vinnytsia section could form part of a HSL to Bălţi, Iaşi and Bucharest, and another HSL corridor to Chernivtsi, Satu Mare, Debrecen, and Budapest. If a HSL was built south of Vinnytsia, it would be logical for it to parallel the entire Lviv – Odesa line. In turn, that would allow a HSL route Kiev – Vinnytsia – Ternopil – Lviv (shown in blue).
The existing line Kiev – Vinnytsia – Odessa, is double-track and electrified. South of Vinnytsia the line turns west, to a junction station at Zhmerynka (Жмеринка). Large junction stations at relatively small towns, are typical of the Ukrainian rail network – although the detour here is not as great as in other cases.
Zhmerynka station: public domain image…
The new line would start at Kiev’s main station. It is intended to connect to a standard-gauge network (at Iaşi), so it would certainly be in standard gauge itself. It would be operationally separate from the existing line.
The alignment out of Kiev would be shared with the proposed Kiev – Crimea high-speed line via Uman, alongside the E95. At Hlevakha, the Vinnytsia line would diverge toward Fastiv – alongside the existing line, which is almost straight.
Fastiv (Фастів, population 50 000) is large enough for a station, and it is already a rail junction. From there, the HSL would generally follow the existing line to Vinnytsia, crossing the Dnieper Upland.
South of Vinnytsia, the existing line runs west to Zhmerynka, although Odessa lies south-east. To avoid the detour, a new high-speed alignment would diverge at the edge of Vinnytsia, and run south to rejoin the Odessa line near Yurkivka. The new alignment would be about 55-60 km long.
Zhmerynka station would no longer be an essential interchange station, for long-distance traffic. At present, lines from both Lviv and Kiev enter Zhmerynka from the north. A future HSL from Vinnytsia, in the direction of Khmelnytskyi, Ternopil and Lviv, would almost certainly bypass Zhmerynka. A HSL to Chernivtsi might be aligned to pass through the station, but again it would be easier to bypass it. Zhmerynka would still be an important interchange, for regional services on the old main lines.
South of Yurkivka, the new HSL would approximately follow the existing line. (It could diverge from it by 5-10 km in places, to improve the alignment). The old railway itself follows the topography – a line of ridges parallel to the Dniester. On the remaining route to Odessa, the only large town is Kotovsk, population 40 000. Some trains on the HSL would stop, to connect to regional services. (The main HSL could bypass the station, with a standard-gauge section diverging through it, and rejoining the main route).
South of Kotovsk, the terrain is more level, and the existing line consists of many straight sections connected by curves. The HSL would run close to it, but not alongside it. The new route would follow the existing line into the port of Odessa (Odesa / Одеса in Ukrainian, population one million). The line approaches from the north-west, and turns north into the main station, at the edge of the city centre.
A new line on this route could be built for very high speeds: there are no major topographic obstacles. Most of the line is at between 100-300 m elevation. With a line speed of 300 km/h, the line should offer a Kiev – Odessa journey time of three hours.