Poland to pump €2.75bn into rail upgrades in 2015

By bne IntelliNews April 22, 2015

Poland’s PKP PLK will issue tenders totalling PLN11bn (€2.75bn) for upgrades of the country’s key railway routes in 2015, the state-owned rail infrastructure company announced on April 22.

Part of a wider programme to modernise the country's rail backbone, Poland plans to spend PLN50bn on upgrades by 2023. PKP PLK said in a statement that the bulk of the funds in 2015 will come from the European Union, although it does not mention a figure. Last year, 70% of its spending on upgrades came from EU funds.

Although having undergone substantial upgrades in the last few years, Poland's passenger and cargo traffic still suffers due to neglect in investment throughout the 1990s and last decade. Even after the EU infrastructure and environment funding kicked in during the middle of the last decade, Poland chose to plough the bulk into building roads first, and turned its attention to railways only recently.

Passenger trains will operate at speeds of 160km/h per hour between all major cities by the early 2020s, PKP PLK claims. Perhaps the country's most modern route currently, the busy line between Warsaw and Krakow sees average speeds below 120 km/h currently. Average speeds on cargo routes reduce to around 24 km/h, endangering their competitiveness to road traffic.

In 2015, PKP PLK will announce tenders to finish the upgrade to the Wroclaw-Poznan  and Krakow-Katowice, as well as two key lines linking Warsaw to the eastern cities Bialystok and Lublin. Warsaw’s run-down metropolitan railway network will receive an upgrade as well.

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