Transport in Poland
The transport in Poland involves air traffic, waterways, roads and railroads.
As a country located at the 'cross-roads' of Europe, Poland, with its developed economy is a nation with a large and increasingly modern network of transport infrastructure.
The Polish highways networks has been viewed in the past as chronically underdeveloped and lacking in basic modern infrastructure. After the fall of communism and after joining the European Union, this situation is rapidly changing for the better and in the next decade Poland plans to have a very modern network of highways. The country's most important waterway is the river Vistula. The largest seaports are the Port of Szczecin and Port of Gdańsk. Air travel is generally used for international travel, with many flights originating at Warsaw Chopin Airport. Railways connect all of Poland's major cities and the state-owned PKP corporation, through its subsidiaries, runs a great number of domestic and international services of varying speed and comfort. In addition to this five out of sixteen Polish voivodeships have their own provincial rail service providers. Many major Polish cities have rapid transit systems (typically tram networks) and public transport is available in most areas throughout the country.
- 1 Roads
- 2 Air transport
- 3 Marine
- 4 Railways
- 5 Municipal transport
- 6 Pipelines
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
- National roads (Classes A, S, GP and exceptionally G): 18,801 km (11,680 mi), 1.9 km (1 mi) unsurfaced
- Voivodeship roads (Classes G, Z and exceptionally GP): 28,476 km (17,690 mi), 63.2 km (39 mi) unsurfaced
- Powiat roads (Classes G, Z and exceptionally L): 127,743 km (79,380 mi), 11,379 km (7,070 mi) unsurfaced
- Gmina roads (Classes L, D and exceptionally Z): 237,244 km (147,420 mi), 120,419 km (74,820 mi) unsurfaced
In recent years, the network has been improving and government spending on road construction recently saw a huge increase, due to rapid development of the country and the inflow of European Union funds for infrastructure projects.
Motorways and expressways
Polish motorways and expressways are part of national roads network. As of December 2012, there are 1,330 kilometres (830 mi) of motorways (autostrady, singular - autostrada) and 1,144 km (710 mi) of expressways (drogi ekspresowe, singular - droga ekspresowa).
Motorways in Poland, 1,330 km (830 mi) (2012):
Expressways in Poland, 1,144 km (710 mi) (2012):
The most important airport in Poland is Warsaw 'Frederic Chopin' International Airport. Warsaw's airport is the main international hub for LOT Polish Airlines and currently serves as the destination for around 75% of all major international flights into Poland. With the development, and upcoming privatisation of LOT in 2011, the airport is hoping to see yet more routes opened to destinations around the globe.
In preparation for the Euro 2012 football championships being jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine, a number of airports around the country were be renovated and redeveloped. This includes the building of state of the art new terminals with an increased number of jetways and stands at both Copernicus Airport in Wrocław and Lech Wałęsa Airport in Gdańsk.
The Polish airline market was until 2004 a classical case of closed market, with bilateral agreements between countries served from the national hub- Warsaw. The regional airports were mostly serving as spokes, and were controlled by PPL, state-owned airport authority. However, in the nineties it was decided to deregulate the airport market and abolish the dominant position of state-owned airport manager, PPL. Nearly all local airports, apart from Zielona Góra airport, became separate companies, with local governments involved in their management, what led to the partial decentralisation. Soon after opening of Polish sky for competition flights “avoiding” the Warsaw hub became more often.
There are currently 12 passenger airports in operation, and there is also an airport Heringsdorf in German village Garz, 7 kilometers from polish seaside spa Świnoujście.
However, the rapid development (8% of increase of passengers served at Polish airports in 2008 compared to 2007) of the unsaturated market and the existence of vast areas of land, not covered by airports within 100 kilometers of journey, allow to assume that many new airports could be necessary to properly serve this land pupulated by appox. 38,2- 35,8 million inhabitants. Especially the area of eastern Poland should be better penetrated by airline traffic. There is a network of secondary airports that could be used, but lack of capital and expertise prohibit their utilisation (case of Biała Podlaska Airport at the Belarussian border).
Main airports: Following are the largest airports in Poland, with passenger and cargo traffic flow (2009):
- Warsaw Frederic Chopin International Airport, 8,282,035 passengers and 50,143 tonnes of cargo per year.
- Kraków Jana Pawła II International Airport, handles 2,661,294 passengers and 4,175 tonnes of cargo.
- Katowice International Airport, handles 2,301,375 passengers and 7,589 tonnes of cargo.
- Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa International Airport, handles 1,890,925 passengers and 4,016 tonnes of cargo.
- Wrocław Mikołaj Kopernik International Airport, handles 1,324,483 passengers and 989 tonnes of cargo.
- Poznań International Airport, handles 1,248,764 passengers and 2,150 tonnes of cargo.
- Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport, handles 383,170 passengers and 557 tonnes of cargo
- Łódź Władysław Reymont Airport, handles 312,225 passengers 2 tonnes of cargo .
- Szczecin-Goleniów "Solidarność" Airport, handles 276,582 passengers and 873 tonnes of cargo.
- Bydgoszcz Ignacy Jan Paderewski Airport. handles 264,528 and 520 tonnes of cargo.
Number of airports in Poland – 123 (1999 est.)
Airports – with paved runways: Total: 84 (2005)
- over 3,047 m: 4
- 2,438 to 3,047 m: 29
- 1,524 to 2,437 m: 41
- 914 to 1,523 m: 7
- under 914 m: 3
Airports – with unpaved runways: Total: 39 (2005)
- 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
- 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
- 914 to 1,523 m: 13
- under 914 m: 21
Heliports: 2 (2005)
Marine transport in Poland has two main sub-groups, riverine and seaborne. On the Baltic Sea coast, a number of large seaports exist to serve the international freight and passenger trade; these are typically deep water ports and are able to serve very large ships, including the ro-ro ferries of Unity Line, Polferries and Stena Line which operate the Poland – Scandinavia passenger lines.
Poland has 3,997 km (2,480 mi) of navigable rivers and canals (as of 2009).
Ports and harbors
- Port of Gdańsk (Polferries: Gdańsk — Nynäshamn / Ystad)
- Port of Gdynia (Stena Line: Gdynia — Karlskrona / Gothenburg and Finnlines: Gdynia — Helsinki / Rostock)
- Port of Szczecin-Świnoujście (Polferries: Świnoujście — Copenhagen / Ystad / Rønne and Unity Line: Świnoujście — Ystad / Trelleborg)
- Port of Ustka
- Port of Kołobrzeg
Total: 57 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,120,165 GRT/1,799,569 metric tons deadweight (DWT)
Ships by type: bulk 50, cargo 2, chemical tanker 2, roll-on/roll-off 1, short-sea passenger 2 (1999 est.)
Poland is served by an extensive network of railways. In most cities the main railway station is located near a city centre and is well connected to the local transportation system. The infrastructure is operated by PKP PLK ( PKP-Polskie Linie Kolejowe : PKP-Polish Rail Lines), part of state-run PKP Group. The rail network is very dense in western and northern Poland, while eastern part of the country is less developed.
The only high speed rail line (though by most definitions, real high speed rail only includes speeds over 200 km/h) in central-eastern Europe is the Centralna Magistrala Kolejowa (CMK), the Central Railway Route. It has a length of 223 km (139 mi), and was built in 1971 – 1977; it links Warsaw with Kraków and Katowice. Trains on the CMK achieve speed up to 160 km/h (some sections allow up to 200 km/h, but the rolling stock has not yet been adapted to handle higher speed). On 11 May 1994, the Italian train Pendolino broke Polish speed record, going on the CMK at 250 km/h. This previous speed however has been broken as of 2013, to 291 km/h on the CMK
Other high speed lines:
- Warsaw – Kutno – Poznań – (Berlin) (160 km/h)
- Warsaw – Siedlce – Terespol – (Minsk) (160, 120 km/h) – being upgraded to 160 km/h
- Warsaw – Puławy – Lublin (120, 140 km/h)
- Opole – Wrocław (160 km/h) and further upgraded via Legnica to Berlin and Hamburg
Projects The Warsaw – Gdańsk – Gdynia line is being upgraded to allow speed up to 200 km/h, and the Warsaw – Łódź line is being upgraded to allow speed up to 160 km/h (in order to bind together the Warsaw – Łódź agglomeration). There are long term plans to construct a new high speed line (350 km/h) from Warsaw to Poznań and Wrocław with forks in Łódź and Kalisz.
The PKP Group is the fourth largest railway throughout Europe. Trains are run by its different subsidiaries.
Passenger transport market
The following companies operate in Poland:
- PKP Intercity – qualified passengers trains (express, intercity, eurocity, hotel and TLK)
- Przewozy Regionalne – regional passengers trains (normal and fast train)
- Tricity SKM – fast urban railway serving the Tricity area of Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot
- Koleje Mazowieckie – local trains in Mazovia centered on Warsaw
- Szybka Kolej Miejska (Warsaw) – suburban railway in Warsaw agglomeration
- Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa – suburban railway in Warsaw agglomeration
- Arriva RP (owned by Deutsche Bahn) – part of the local train traffic in Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship
- Koleje Dolnośląskie – part of the local train traffic in Lower Silesian Voivodeship
Narrow gauge railways
There are hundreds of kilometres of 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in), 750 mm (2 ft 5 1⁄2 in), 785 mm (2 ft 6 29⁄32 in), and 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) narrow gauge lines in Poland. These railways are mostly in decline, some surviva as a museum or tourist railways.
Freight transport market
- PKP Cargo
- PKP LHS – Metallurgic Broad Gauge Line
- PTK Holding SA – The Railway Transportation Holding in Zabrze
- Przedsiębiorstwo Transportu Kolejowego i Gospodarki Kamieniem Rybnik – The Railway Transport and Stone Management Company in Rybnik
- CTL Logistics
- PCC Rail Szczakowa – Rail Szczakowa website – part of the German concern PCC AG
- Kopalnia Piasku Kotlarnia – The Kotlarnia sand mine
- Kopalnia Piasku Kuźnica Warężyńska – The Kuźnica Warężyńska sand mine
- Orlen KolTrans
- Lotos Kolej
- Nadwiślanski Zakład Transportu Kolejowego- Vistula Rail Transport Company]
Broad gauge railways
Except for Linia Hutnicza Szerokotorowa, and a few very short stretches near border crossings, Poland uses the standard gauge for its railways. Therefore Linia Hutnicza Szerokotorowa (known by its acronym LHS, English: Broad gauge steelworks line) in Sławków is the longest broad gauge railway line in Poland. The line runs on a single track for almost 400 km (250 mi) from the Polish-Ukrainian border, crossing it just east of Hrubieszów. It is the westernmost broad gauge railway line in Europe that is connected to the broad gauge rail system of the countries of the former Soviet Union.
Total: 23,420 km (14,550 mi)
- standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) : 21,639 km (13,450 mi) (11,626 km (7,220 mi) electrified; 8,978 km (5,580 mi) double track)
- broad gauge 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) : 646 km (401 mi)
- narrow gauge (various) : 1,135 km (710 mi) various gauges including 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in), 785 mm (2 ft 6 29⁄32 in), 750 mm (2 ft 5 1⁄2 in), and 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) (1998)
As of December 2002 narrow gauge railways were no longer owned or operated by PKP. They were transferred to regional authorities or became independent companies.
- Same gauge:
- Break-of-gauge – 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)/1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in)
Most Polish towns and cities have well developed municipal bus services. Typically, a city possesses its own local bus company, however, in some cases they have private competitors operating on certain lines upon the agreement with local authorities.
Until 1990s, interurban connections were operated by a single, state-owned company PKS. Since then, it has been broken into a number of independent national and municipal enterprises. In addition, several private operators emerged. There are two classes of service distinguished by vehicle length:
- autobus — longer vehicles (12.0 m and more),
- bus — shorter vehicles with smaller capacity, very popular on local connections, run by individual persons and smaller companies.
While they often use the same bus stops, they tend to use different stations.
Bigger cities run dense tram networks, which are the primary mean of public transport. Currently, there are 14 systems serving over 30 cities including Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Katowice, Kraków, Łódź, Poznań, Szczecin, Warsaw and Wrocław, with the total track length varying from 200 km (120 mi) (Silesian Interurbans) to less than 10 km (6 mi) (Tramways in Grudziądz). A new network is being constructed in Olsztyn. See the list: List of town tramway systems in Europe#Poland
Since 1990s, a number of cities attempts to upgrade certain parts of their networks to the light rail standard (called szybkie tramwaje, eng. fast trams). The most notable investments are Poznań Fast Tram and Kraków Fast Tram with the underground 1.5 km (0.9 mi) premetro section.
The first and currently the only metro line was opened in Warsaw in 1995. The second line is under construction. There are no official plans to build metro in other cities due to the lack of funds, but there is an ongoing debate whether they should be built, especially in Kraków and Wrocław.
See: Warsaw Metro
- Crude oil and petroleum products 2,280 km (1,420 mi)
- Natural gas 13,500 km (8,390 mi)
- Transport - activity results in 2011 Główny Urząd Statystyczny
-  GDDKiA (Polish)
- Adisa Banjanovic, Improving Poland's transport infrastructure
- Polish motorways and expressways stats on skyscrapercity(Polish)
-  (Polish), 2007
- In brief: High Speed Rail will invade Poland by 2020, Transport Expertise Association, Matthieu Desiderio, 11 June 2008.
- ,  Online rail timetables,  Online rail and bus timetable
- Rail Map: Poland (PDF) Most minor lines omitted
- Road Map: Poland