The head of Ukraine’s state railway company, who became somewhat of a Twitter sensation for his endless quest to keep the country’s trains running during wartime, has resigned.

Aleksandr Kamyshin will step down as CEO of Ukrainian Railways (Ukrzaliznytsia) and instead become head of the company’s European integration office.

“I leave the position with a calm heart,” he wrote in his Telegram channel.

“The company is working clearly and smoothly... I am grateful to President Zelensky and Deputy Prime Minister Kubrakov for appreciating my work in the position,” he continued.

Like many people in Ukraine, Kamyshin found his job was utterly transformed by Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country and the already complex task of trying to keep Ukraine’s trains running on time became a matter of life-and-death significance for millions.

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Ukrainian Railways evacuated around 4 million people away from the combat zones, as well as transporting many of those escaping abroad.

Scenes of women and children desperately trying to board packed trains in cities across Ukraine became emblematic of the misery caused by Russia in the early days of the war.

Yet despite the conflict, Ukraine’s trains did keep on running, and Kamyshin’s tweets often went viral – due to his dry humor, obsession with OTP (On Time Performance) and self-deprecating outpourings of disappointment over delays that had been caused by the most extraordinary of circumstances.

British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 15 July 2024
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Here are just some of his highlights:

  • Reporting the Kyiv-Kherson rail line reestablished just three days after liberation
  • The inside story of Rail Force One and the secret mission to get Joe Biden to Kyiv last month
  • Apologizing for the disruption caused by the most important world leader's visit to Kyiv
  • Still smashing targets despite being at war
  • Rolling out steam engines to protect against Russia’s missile campaign to destroy Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure
  • Servicing pets
  • Unveiling a pedal-powered Christmas tree in Kyiv’s main train station that could be lit during blackouts

Kamyshin proved himself to be an effective anti-crisis manager. Under his leadership, a corrupted and unreformed state-owned company became an effective evacuation vehicle that saved millions of lives in wartime.

He turned a loss-making state company profitable, by making a decision unpopular among private business: to raise freight tariffs.

Kamyshin became head of Ukrainian Railways in August 2021, when he was appointed acting CEO. In April 2022, Kamyshin was formally installed as CEO for a four-year term. Prior to that, he had been a managing partner of the investment company Fortior Capital.

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