Is the train finally off?

Rare railroad with hundred years’ history may disappear today almost in a twinkling of an eye without active support of all the Transcarpathians. We are talking about Borzhavska narrow-gauge railway – the only transport infrastructure of this type which survived from the former 1500-kilometer network of Transcarpathian narrow-gauge railways.
As you know, the regional office of the State Property Fund of Ukraine in the Transcarpathian region sold this rare item of state property at auction. 15-kilometers long narrow-gauge railway from station Pryborzhavske to Kushnytsa in Irshava district was sold for disassembling purposes. On May 13, 2011 it was purchased by a private entrepreneur from Lugansk Anna Svyetlichna for 410,743 UAH.
Recently, the entrepreneur’s company started to dismantle the purchased railway for scrap. Though local residents prevented the removal of rails. Entrepreneur from Lugansk even turned to mass media with a letter where she complained about residents of Bronyka residents.According to the latest decision of Lviv Appeal Court all actions of the district council against the State Property Fund were rejected. Some time ago Irshava district council appealed to the Transcarpathian Regional Prosecutor’s Office to check whether the state does not lose money on this deal. The prosecutor’s office redirected this appeal to the regional police, and the latter did not respond without any valid reason. It seems that the fate of this small train stuck in some dead loop. Irshava district council deputies suggested to transfer the narrow-gauge railway into their municipal ownership and emphasized that they would do everything possible to prevent the destruction of railroad.
Fortunately, there is hope that this issue will move from a dead point to some positive solution. Recently the Minister of Emergencies of Ukraine, member of the Transcarpathian Regional Council Viktor Baloga, commenting on reports about dismantling of the track, convinced that the relentless destruction of Borzhava railroad requires an immediate response of local authorities. The official said that the authorities of Transcarpathia demonstrates strange indifference and short-sighted policy concerning the fate of more than century-old Borzhava railway.
Viktor Baloga said that local authorities should undertake the responsibility for this issue. The experience of neighboring Hungary, Slovakia and Romania may be an example of how a narrow-gauge can pay its way and provide benefits like transport and tourist facilities. The Minister said that he initiated the development of documents, including the ones for the government, with an aim to protect the unique Borzhavska narrow-gauge railway from final destruction, and promised to personally solicit for the retention of Borzhavska railroad as an exclusive transport and culturally important heritage.
It’s noteworthy that right after Viktor Baloga declared his position and local authorities immediately responded to the events. Thus, the Head of the Transcarpathian Regional Administration Oleksandr Ledyda in his comments to Inter TV-channel noted that he had already sent a letter to the Head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine concerning dismissal of the present head of Transcarpathian regional office of the Fund. The governor believes that the latter acted in behalf of certain individuals but not Transcarpathia, and therefore he could have no future at this position.

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