The company in a statement called the scheme a Schienenbrücke — German for “rail bridge” — in a reference to the 1948-49 Allied “Luftbrücke” or airlift to supply West Berlin during the Soviet blockade.
“Overnight Friday, the first train left the railway yard Seddin outside of Berlin with assistance for the people in Ukraine,” bound for Kyiv via Krakow, it said.
The train with 15 containers on board is transporting 350 tonnes of vital goods including sleeping bags, diapers, canned food and bottled water as well
as medical supplies.
Further shipments organised by its DB Cargo subsidiary and DB Schenker logistics unit are planned “in the coming days”, a company spokesman told AFP.
Deutsche Bahn’s cargo chief Sigrid Nikutta said rail links remained “stable” with Ukraine.
“Today we are starting to help quickly, with the things that are most urgently needed,” she said.
Deutsche Bahn said it had established a logistics network on railways and roads to deliver aid supplies directly.
Lorries will be used to pick up donations from people and companies throughout Germany and then loaded onto trains to Ukraine, in cooperation with a DB Cargo unit in Poland and Ukrainian railways.