The Veterans’ Charity UK Train to Ukraine

In February 2022 The Veterans’ Charity as part of our Routes of Remembrance event had been looking at railway related trips ready for the Wreaths Across The Atlantic event on VE Day had discovered the stories of The Friendship Train of 1947 and the Merci Train 1948.

The Friendship Train was an initiative to carry relief supplies to war torn Europe. The train left Hollywood, California and gathered more and more “box cars” as it headed across the US to New York. On arrival the cargo was transported in a WW2 Liberty Ship renamed The “Friendship”. On arrival in Europe the supplies were shared across the war-torn continent. In 1948 a French railway worker created the “Merci” or Thank You train from France to the US. Where a Box car was sent to each US State full of gifts.

Many of the actual Box (or Freight) Cars are preserved across the USA as a reminder of this special act of gratitiude.

The Veterans’ Charity contacted many of their contacts in the “Railway Family” including Sir Peter Hendy and Rail Freight companies about the possibility of creating a Train to Ukraine. One of the team noticed a member of Network Rail in the southwest was also striving to create a relief train but was inspired by a British led train that ran to Kosovo in the 1990’s supported in large part by the British Army given the situation in the region at that time.

So working together with many other organisations the UK Train to Ukraine was put together and in just 2 months, with many conversations with Government of a number of nations a relief train pulled out of the UK packed with non-military supplies to support the people of Ukraine.

UK Rail for Ukraine launches first humanitarian aid train (

We discover if the team win, against some stiff competition in the Rail Staff Awards 2022 in November, we will keep you informed of how the team perform in a well populated Teamworking category.

Our Executive Members

By @Cobseo 54 years ago

Afghanistan support

In light of recent events in Afghanistan, please find information and support resources here