High-speed rail in Poland

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As of December 2009, Poland had 700–800 km of railways suited for rail transport reaching 160 km/h. An additional 1,500 km are expected by 2015,[1] including some sections allowing 200 km/h. While previously the Polish government had invested primarily in Poland's road network, from 2012 onwards it will shift its focus toward development of rail transport. The government hopes to link Poland's twelve largest cities by high-speed rail by 2020.[1]

Several sections of the Central Trunk Line currently permit speeds of 200 km/h (with a current speed record in Poland of 293 km/h)[2] however only 160 km/h is used in commercial service. Polish Railways planned to buy Pendolino trains in 1998 but the contract was cancelled the following year by the Supreme Control Chamber due to financial losses by Polish Railways.

Warsaw to Poznań and Wrocław via Łódź[edit]

There were plans for a "Y" line that would have connected WarsawŁódźKalisz. The line would then have split into two branches to Wrocław and Poznań.[3] The geometric layout of the line was planned to permit speeds of 360 km/h. Construction had been planned to begin around 2014 and finish in 2019. In April 2010, the tender for a feasibility study was awarded to a consortium led by Spanish company Ingenieria IDOM.[4] The feasibility study was granted €80 million in subsidy from the European Union.[5] The total cost of the line including construction and train sets was estimated at €6.9 billion and was planned to be partially financed by EU subsidies.[6]

In the center of the city of Łódź the "Y" line would have traveled through an underground tunnel which would have linked two existing railway stations. One of them: Łódź Fabryczna would have been reconstructed as an underground station (construction contract was signed on 18 August 2011).[7] However, the project was cancelled in 2011 due to insufficient funding from the European Union.[8]

Other lines[edit]

Planned high-speed rail network in Poland

There are also many plans for upgrading existing lines. The Central Trunk Line (CMK) Warsaw - Kraków/Katowice was originally built to geometry appropriate for speeds up to 250 km/h, and only requires suitable signalling equipment to be fitted and some amount of modernisation works. ETCS Level 1 will allow trains to reach 200 km/h in 2011, and a further upgrade for 230 km/h is planned for 2014.[9]

Reconstruction work has started on the Warsaw–Gdańsk line to allow speeds up to 200 km/h for tilting trains.[10]

High-speed trains using "Y" and CMK will probably continue on upgraded existing lines e.g. Berlin and Szczecin from Poznań, Prague from Wrocław, Białystok from Warsaw (see map).


Rolling stock[edit]

In September 2010, Alstom was revealed to have been the sole bidder on a tender for high-speed trainsets; Alstom will supply 20 New Pendolino trains to PKP Intercity; they will be capable of running international services to Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.[11] In May 2011, the Polish rail operator awarded Alstom a contract worth €665 million to supply 20 high-speed trains, their full maintenance for up to 17 years and the construction of a new maintenance depot. The first trains are scheduled for delivery in 2014. [12]

References[edit]

See also[edit]