The increase in the attractiveness and accessibility of railways in Poland is due to the effective use of EU and budgetary funds by PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. The company has been consistently implementing the largest investment programme in its history – the National Railway Programme (NRP) worth nearly 77 billion PLN. Investments under the National Railway Programme are co-financed with budgetary funds and EU funds – Infrastructure and Environment Operational Programme, Eastern Poland Operational Programme, Regional Operational Programmes and CEF “Connecting Europe” Facility. The involvement of European Union funds amounts to 41.5 billion PLN (9,2 billion EUR).
Thanks to railway investments co-financed by European Union funds in Poland, after many years we can again travel by train between Legnica and Glogow, from Mielec to Debica, from Wroclaw to Jelcz via Swojczyce and from Hajnowka to Lewki in Podlasie Region.
PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. – the Polish rail infrastructure manager, is effectively using billions of zlotys from EU and budgetary funds. Shorter travel times, e.g. from Warsaw to Tricity, from Krakow to Katowice, from Wroclaw to Poznan, as well as new stops and collision-free crossings, are also benefits of investments with EU funds.
Over 60 new stops have increased rail accessibility throughout Poland, e.g. Warsaw Powazki, Krakow Bronowice, Olsztyn Likusy, Wroclaw Szczepin and Iwiny near Wroclaw, Parzniew near Warsaw, Orzechowicze in Podlasie Region, Szydlow Centrum. Thanks to the funds the inhabitants of more than 100 municipalities are able to travel more comfortably by rail to work and school. Only in 2021, thanks to the use of EU funds, after years trains returned to the Wroclaw – Jelcz route in Lower Silesia.
Lifts, ramps and special signage have made rail access more comfortable. Thousands of travellers in big cities and smaller towns benefit from the growing number of facilities every year. About 400 stations and stops within National Railway Program have been modernised. Better access is particularly important for people with reduced mobility – their needs are taken into account in all investments. The project “Improvement of technical condition of passenger service infrastructure (including adjustment to TSI PRM requirements), stage IV – passenger infrastructure on revitalised lines under OPI&E 2007 – 2013” is dedicated to the improvement of railway accessibility.
Travellers are increasingly choosing rail for urban, agglomeration, regional and long-distance travels because of time savings and convenience. After many years, railways have returned to the following lines: Legnica – Rudna Gwizdanow, Lublin – Łukow, Mielec – Debica, Wroclaw – Jelcz, Skarzysko- Kamienna – Tomaszow Mazowiecki and Lewki – Hajnowka in Podlasie Region.
Travel time has been shortened on: Katowice – Krakow, Wroclaw – Poznan, Warsaw – Gdansk, Wrocław – Gdynia, Poznan – Pila, Olsztyn – Szczytno – Elk, Warsaw – Olsztyn.
Thanks to billions of euros invested in the railway, safety has increased. Drivers use more than 500 new collision-free crossings and rebuilt viaducts, as well as more than 2,000 level crossings equipped with new devices. New solutions mean better living conditions. On the national and international railway route Rail Baltica alone, dozens of new collision-free crossings will be built in Poland. This project is being implemented under the CEF fund.
Billions zlotys’ investments in Poland are increasing the importance of railway as an environmentally-friendly mean of transport. We are already travelling on environmentally friendly electric trains on electrified routes from Lublin to Stalowa Wola, Wegliniec to Zgorzelec and Ocice to Rzeszow. Modern railway infrastructure reduces noise and water pollution. PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. builds special crossings, adapts bridges and checks animal routes.
Rail freight transport in Europe and Poland uses the routes rebuilt by PKP Polish Railways S.A. among others reconstructed routes in the Baltic – Adriatic and North Sea – Baltic corridors (RFC 5 and RFC8). Trains carrying goods travel faster and more efficiently, e.g. on the route from Wroclaw to Poznan, from Warsaw to ports in Gdansk and Gdynia, as well as from east to west, e.g. along international route E30 (in Poland connecting Medyka station with Zgorzelec station) and E20 (Kunowice – Terespol). More longer and heavier trains with cargo can reach the seaport more efficiently and safely, which also increases the ports’ potential.
Freight trains in the Silesian Region are also running faster and more efficiently, e.g. on the routes Toszek Polnoc – Rudziniec Gliwicki – Stare Kozle, Chybie – Zory – Rybnik – Nedza/Turze, Czestochowa – Chorzew Siemkowice. These required, among other things, new bridges and viaducts. EU funds were used, among other things, for the construction of nearly 600 bridges, e.g. on the international Rail Baltica route on the Bug River, over the Vistula River in Krakow, or over the San River on the Lublin – Stalowa Wola route. Investments in rail freight transport are beneficial for the environment and also increase road safety.
Ongoing great modernisation of Polish railways
Projects preparation works for the new 2021-2027 perspective in Poland have been going on for several years and involve the development of study and design documentation butiIts implementation the PKP PLK started even earlier.
The basic assumption in the new EU financial perspective is the continuation of investments aimed at adapting the infrastructure to the requirements of the TEN-T core network, i.e. running of goods trains with a length of min. with a length of min. 740 m while maintaining pressures of 221 kN/axle, full electrification of individual railway lines included in the corridors of the TEN-T core network, adaptation of the infrastructure to run freight trains at a speed of 100 km/h, as well as the implementation of the ERTMS/ETCS system.
Under the new EU perspective, projects are also planned to improve capacity in urban agglomerations by extending the entrances to the agglomeration to 4 tracks, which will allow the separation of suburban, long-distance and freight traffic. Also there are planned e.g. investments aimed at connecting the main urban and agglomeration centres with modernised railway lines, on which it will be possible to further increase the maximum speed, which will enable shorter travel times between the cities.
There are also planned investments on railway lines managed by PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A., which will be part of the so-called “spokes of the Central Communication Port”.
Complementing the planned investments in Poland with the use of European Union funds, will be the implementation of the Railway Plus Programme, the Governmental Programme for the Construction or Modernisation of Railway Stops 2021-2025.