Rail transport in Poland
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|Polish Railway Lines|
Railway network in 1952
A ED59-01 train in Skierniewice
|Dates of operation||22 May 1842–present|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) (standard gauge)|
|Electrification||3 kV DC Overhead line|
|Length||19,599 km (12,178.3 mi)|
The network is generally electrified, and the vast majority was built before World War II by different rail companies when territory was part of other countries, including the Deutsche Reichsbahn and Russian Imperial State Railways or by the Communist authorities from 1946 onwards. Due to the average age of the network and lack of maintenance, many sections are limited to speeds below 100 km/h (62 mph) even on trunk lines. There are no high-speed lines and some 500 km (310 mi) allow 160 km/h (99 mph), most notably the Central Trunk Line (CMK), which links Warsaw to Katowice and Kraków, with some sections on an alignment that would permit 200 km/h (120 mph) but not operated at that speed.
In 2008, the government announced the construction of a dedicated high speed line based on the French TGV model and possibly using TGV style trainsets, by 2020. The Y-shaped line would link Warsaw to Łódź, Poznań and Wrocław at speeds of up to 320 km/h (200 mph). This includes an upgrade of Central Trunk Line to 250 km/h (160 mph) (or more) as this line has an LGV-like profile. In December 2011 plans to build the high speed line were postponed until 2030.
Polskie Koleje Państwowe (PKP), a state-owned corporate group, is the main provider of railway services, holding an almost complete monopoly in rail services as it is both supported and partly funded by the government.
- There are three main PKP companies:
- PKP PLK - owns and maintains infrastructure including lines and stations.
- PKP Intercity - provides long-distance connections on the most popular routes. Trains are divided into the categories: EuroNight, EuroCity, Express InterCity (generally faster and more expensive) and TLK (interregional fast trains, slower than EN/EC/EIC/Ex but cheaper) and international fast trains.
- PKP Cargo provides cargo rail transport.
As of 2008, foreign services include EuroCity and EuroNight trains between Western and Eastern Europe, most notably the EN Jan Kiepura direct sleeping cars between Russia and Amsterdam, Basel and Munich via Warsaw, Poznan and Germany. They generally consist of coaches from different rail operators that are added to the train as it passes through their area of operation.
Links with adjacent countries
- Same gauge:
- Break-of-gauge - 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)/1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in)
The network is standard gauge except for the Broad Gauge Metallurgy Line (known by its Polish abbreviation LHS) and a few short stretches near border crossings. The LHS to Sławków is the longest line, single track for almost 400 km from the Ukrainian border just east of Hrubieszów. It is the westernmost broad gauge line connected to the system of the former Soviet Union.
Narrow gauge railways
- Przewozy Regionalne - owned by regional authorities of the 16 voivodeships, formerly part of PKP group. Operates local passenger trains (under the REGIO brand) financed by local governments, low-cost long-distance trains (interREGIO) and short-distance international trains jointly with DB Regio (REGIOekspres). Passenger trains are rather slow, mostly electric multiple units and diesel railcars/railbuses. InterREGIO trains are of slightly lower standard than TLK trains (no first class and dining cars), but are usually a bit cheaper.
- Deutsche Bahn
- DB Regio connects from the border stations at Gorzów, Kostrzyn, Szczecin with the DB network with local trains (the Polish parts of their routes are generally operated by Przewozy Regionalne).
- Arriva RP (a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn) is a regional operator on lines in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian and Pomeranian regions
- Koleje Dolnośląskie is a regional operator on a few lines in Lower Silesia.
- Koleje Mazowieckie is a regional operator on all lines in Masovian Voivodeship, including Warsaw.
- Koleje Śląskie
- SKPL is a micro-operator providing services on branch lines and narrow-gauge lines.
- PKP Szybka Kolej Miejska in the Tri-city area of northern Poland
- Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa, a suburban railway in Warsaw
- Szybka Kolej Miejska, a suburban city-owned line in Warsaw
- Warsaw Metro, an underground metro system in Warsaw, currently undergoing a period of expansion.
- National railways operator company official website
- Current train schedule
- Information on the periodic difficulties in the movement of trains in Poland
- Information about current delays trains
- Polish Rail TV
- Rail carrier PKP Intercity
- Rail carrier Przewozy Regionalne
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