As Ukrainians awoke to the sound of Russian missiles exploding in their towns and cities, millions of them fled to train stations.

There were no tickets to safety as such, but there were trains to take them further west, away from the war.

Since the start of the Russian invasion, Ukraine Railways has transported four million people to western Ukraine and over half a million to destinations outside the country, according to the Ukraine Railways Company.

They had to change the timetables daily, depending on where civilians needed to be evacuated most urgently.

When they got on the train, people often didn’t know where they were going, but they knew where they were escaping from.

“Those days were a nightmare,” Oleksandr Kamyshin, CEO of Ukrainian Railways told Euronews reporter Sasha Vakulina. “But we gave our citizens, our people, the feeling that they should go to the station and that would be enough. They are safe, they can get first aid, medical help, psychological help, some food, hot tea and be evacuated at the end of the day. Slow, uncomfortable, but evacuated to a safer place.

“Like many people, like many companies, like many institutions in Ukraine, we were preparing for the war. But we were not ready for that kind of war: full-scale invasion with shelling, with aerial bombing and so on.

“So finally, I don’t want to be in that position anymore, when I wouldn’t be ready for anything. That’s why since the summer we are ready for everything. We are in a different environment. We are preparing for any scenario. , it could happen.”

After Ukrainian forces pushed Russia back from parts of eastern Ukraine, the railway company wasted no time in resuming service there, according to Oleksandr Kamyshin:

“Kherson it took us a week. Me and my team were there on the second day after the decommissioning, then on the 4th day and then in a week. In a week we took the first train. It was complicated because we had to repair the infrastructure , clear the tracks, the stations and the whole area.”

Sasha Vakulina asked Oleksandr Kamyshin where he would like to go after a Ukrainian victory.

“If you remember, the president told David Letterman that one day he’s going to go to a beach and have some beer,” he replied, “and for the president’s birthday I promised him a train to Crimea, to the beach in Crimea. I’ll probably to take the same train.”

Watch the video in the player above.