High-speed rail to boost economic development in Central and Eastern Europe
Posted: 17 March 2023 | Centralny Port Komunikacyjny (CPK) | No comments yet
The completed high-speed rail network in the Three Seas region, suitable for both passenger and freight transport, will be approximately 4,500 km by 2050.
It’s no secret that the delay in transport infrastructure development is one of the main challenges impeding growth in the CEE region, particularly in former Eastern Bloc countries due to decades of insufficient investments. Despite railways being an integral part of Poland’s national transport system, it gradually degraded after socialism, and only after joining the European Union did it begin to be rebuilt.
Although Poland still lags behind Western and Southern European countries in terms of High-Speed Railways (HSR) development, it boasts hundreds of kilometres of modernized railway lines equipped with state-of-the-art European ERTMS/ETCS Level 2 signalling solutions. The major driving forces behind rail infrastructure development in the region are the ongoing HSR projects in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and the Czech Republic. The European Investment Bank (EIB) emphasizes the importance of investing in transport infrastructure to fill gaps in the Central and Eastern European transport system. Such investments can lead to significant economic benefits while enhancing the security of the continent. Key infrastructure projects that are planned and implemented by the Czech rail infrastructure manager, Správa železnic, include CPK, Rail Baltica, and HSR development projects. The CPK project aims to link the rail networks of the other two projects, creating a comprehensive high-speed rail network in the region. The new CPK airport in central Poland will provide transcontinental connections, further boosting the region’s connectivity.
According to the report “Benefits of HSR Development and Integration Between EU Countries of the Three Seas Initiative” developed by Steer, an international consultancy that performs analyses for the European Commission, the completed high-speed rail network in the Three Seas region, suitable for both passenger and freight transport, will be approximately 4,500 kilometres by 2050. The report was presented recently in Warsaw during the International Railway Direction Days congress organized by Centralny Port Komunikacyjny. The total cost of developing the entire HSR network in the Three Seas region is estimated to be around EUR 60 billion. These investments are expected to yield benefits of approximately EUR 120 billion, meaning that, in the long term, the developed HSR network in the Three Seas region should generate twice its initial cost (Economic Net Present Value – ENPV).
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