Performance of Poland’s operational programme

Posted: 26 November 2007 | | No comments yet

This article comprehensively describes a modernisation plan for the Polish rail network to be fulfilled during 2007-2013 and subsequent years. This great investment plan is lead by PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. (PKP Polish Railway Lines Company). The plan is an extensive one and there is still enough time and financial means for everybody who wants to participate in it to put their thoughts forward.

This article comprehensively describes a modernisation plan for the Polish rail network to be fulfilled during 2007-2013 and subsequent years. This great investment plan is lead by PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. (PKP Polish Railway Lines Company). The plan is an extensive one and there is still enough time and financial means for everybody who wants to participate in it to put their thoughts forward.

This article comprehensively describes a modernisation plan for the Polish rail network to be fulfilled during 2007-2013 and subsequent years. This great investment plan is lead by PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. (PKP Polish Railway Lines Company). The plan is an extensive one and there is still enough time and financial means for everybody who wants to participate in it to put their thoughts forward.

I would like to draw the attention of all Global Railway Review readers who are representing companies cooperating within the railway sector and for rail operators, that in the heart of our continent we are creating convenient circumstances for the development of both domestic and international railway transport, aimed at interoperability and complete liberalisation of the passenger and freight transport market available to all EU operators.

The most extensive investment plan in Poland to be fulfilled during 2007-2013 is the Operational Programme ‘Infrastructure and Environment’ (OPIE). One year ago, Poland’s Council of Ministers adopted the Operational Programme ‘Infrastructure and Environment for 2007-2013’ which – in accordance with the National Strategic Reference Framework for 2007 – 2013 (NSRF) – becomes one of the operational programmes as a basic tool to attain significant objectives using a Cohesion Fund and a European Regional Development Fund.

The main purpose of the Programme is to raise the investment attractiveness of Poland and its individual regions by means of technical infrastructure development. This task will be implemented by paying attention to protection and improvement of natural environment, preservation of Poland’s cultural identity and territorial integrity of our country.

The managing unit of the OPIE is the Regional Development Minister who fulfills his tasks through the Infrastructure Programme Coordination Department in the Regional Development Ministry. The managing unit transfers part of its tasks to be performed by intermediate organs, i.e., by respective ministers. For example, in the case of rail investment, it is the Transport Minister. PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A., as Poland’s rail network manager, is among the entities implementing the OPIE.

Over €36 billion is to be allocated for the fulfillment of OPIE during 2007-2013, including almost €28 million coming from EU funds which include the Cohesion Fund of approximately €21.5 million (77%) and the European Regional Development Fund of almost €6.5 million (23%).

As much as 71% of EU funds is to be allocated for the OPIE projects and will go to transport tasks. Huge amounts of the money is envisaged for natural environment protection (18%) and energy (6%) as well as for some minor objectives connected with culture, education and medical care.

The OPIE provides over €6,200 million for rail transport investment during 2007-2013. Complete performance of all tasks is planned for up to 2015 with maximum intensity works to take place during 2009 and 2012. This concerns, first of all, those TENT networks which are intended to connect the six major urban agglomerations in Poland, that is Warsaw, Wrocl´aw, Poznan, Lódz, Gdan´sk and Cracow with Upper Silesian Agglomeration (including Katowice, Chorzów, Bytom, Zabrze, Gliwice and other towns). This priority is in compliance with the Polish rail network development strategy continued since the mid-90s. Its performance was feasible due to a significant share of ISPA and PHARE Funds and since 2004, the Cohesion Fund and European Regional Development Fund.

The basic objective of the OPIE related to rail transport is to complete a high-speed network and raise maximum speeds to 200km/h on selected railway lines. Distances between major cities in Poland do not exceed 330km, so after railway line upgrading, the journey time is expected to be no longer than 150 minutes. Implementation of the ERTMS on a majority of sections of these lines will allow for maximum speeds of up to 200km/h.

Besides the above, we plan to start the modernisation of the E 75 railway line from Warsaw to the Polish-Lithuanian border, upgrade some lines located out of international transport corridors as well as to construct or modernise rail links to major airports (Warsaw, Cracow, Wrocl´aw and Katowice).

We will also begin design works for the construction of a high-speed line from Wrocl´aw and Poznan´ to Warsaw via Lódz. A feasibility study is planned to be carried out between 2007-2013 (preliminary feasibility study was completed in 2006) and we also expect to obtain location decisions, natural environment protection acceptance and permission to purchase land necessary for the construction of the line. The construction itself is expected to begin by approximately 2014, however, we will take into account earlier dates. The line should be ‘Y’-shaped and laid parallel. Its arms reach Poznan and Wrocl´aw and its connecting point is the oldest Polish town of Kalisz which has been known since antiquity. Further on, the line will go through Lódz reaching Warsaw. Therefore, the line will connect the cities whose total population is almost 3.8 million people and their agglomerations totaling almost 7 million people. We will start the construction by building first the Wrocl´aw – Kalisz section. It will be open for rail traffic immediately after its completion. On the Warsaw – Lódz – Wroclaw route the sections of Warsaw – Lódz and Lódz – Kalisz of the conventional railway line will be adapted to a maximum speed of 160km/h. We are also considering a section under the centre of Lódz city to go through a tunnel and further on to Warsaw, an alternative route. In the future, the Kalisz – Poznan´ section will be extended from Poznan´ to the Polish-German border.

But now let’s come back to the Operational Programme ‘Infrastructure and Environment’. Its fulfillment will allow us to cut down the journey time from Warsaw and the above-mentioned Polish agglomerations, to other Polish cities like Szczecin, Rzeszów, Lublin, Kielce and Olsztyn, as well as to European capitals including Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Kiev, Minsk and so on. That would have a great impact on further development of international rail transport, in particular on passenger traffic. The existing connections are evaluated as insufficient.

If we launch rail services on high-speed lines, which is supposed to take place around 2020, they will facilitate international passenger traffic offering a journey time competitive to air transport.

Also, the existing Centralna Magistrala Kolejowa (Central Railway Trunk Line) will be upgraded to adapt it to a speed of 300-350km/h, which at present is used only for Gdynia-Warsaw-Cracow/Katowice passenger services. This line, which had been constructed in the 70s of the 20th Century, enables us to conduct passenger rail traffic with a maximum speed of 160km/h. However, its geometry will allow us to significantly raise the speed of trains. When the first stage of modernisation is completed including implementation of the ERTMS, upgrading the power supply facilities and liquidation of rail-road level crossings, then we will be able to raise maximum speeds up to 200km/h.

The Centralna Magistrala Kolejowa represents an important part of the international transport corridor No VI connecting Scandinavia with the Balkans (across the Polish territory it is known as the E 65 railway line). After its modernisation on the Gdynia/Gdan´sk – Warsaw section, the transit time on North-South axis will be significantly shortened and the Baltic ports of Sweden, Finland and Poland will become more integrated.

International transit, including intercontinental, is another very important aspect of rail network modernisation in Poland. Of course, every citizen of the European Union is aware that Poland is located in the very centre of our continent. Railway lines situated in international transport corridors crossing the territory of Poland create an opportunity for their wider utilisation in transit, in particular for freight transport. Corridor I (E 75) facilitates rail services from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and North-East of Russia (Saint-Petersburg). Corridor II (E 20) – transportation from Central Russia (Moscow) and Belarus. Corridor III (E 30) – transit from Ukraine and South Russia. It is also possible to arrange a wider use (corridor II and III) of trans-Siberian trunk line to perform transit towards northern and central parts of Germany, Denmark, the Benelux countries, France and Great Britain.

The decision of the UEFA by selecting Poland and Ukraine as hosts of EURO 2012 football championships influenced the schedule of modernisation works in Poland. We want to see railway as a chief transport mode to be used by football fans and visitors. This will allow us to shift a transport burden from road to rail. Railway transport in Poland has a favourable position since all Polish cities have railway stations located in the very centre. Safe and fast journeys by train between EURO 2012 host cities will become a true pleasure and will help combine sports emotions with opportunities to get familiarized with the beauty of our cities and regions. I sincerely encourage you to use this opportunity.

The OPIE also includes the so-called ‘Reserve Projects’. They will be launched in case of expansion of substantial works and in case of giving up any priority task. After 2014, we consider constructing new sections of railway lines supplementing the existing rail network which had been shaped as early as the 19th and the beginning of 20th century, that is at the time when Poland was partitioned between the three neighbouring countries and economic and administrative centers were located in a different way.

Our investment plan for 2007-2013 foresees over 4 billion zloty annually to be spent on rail network modernisation. Let me remind you, that during 2001 and 2002, the respective expenditure was about 500 million zlotys and it did not exceed 1 billion zlotys during 2003 and 2004.

Of course, all projects being implemented within OPIE do not cover all tasks which stand ahead of us. We keep performing various planning, design and construction works resulting from the duties and responsibilities of a rail infrastructure manager concerning current rail infrastructure maintenance, which means over 19,000km of railway lines, the majority of which are double track, electrified lines.

The OPIE gives a great chance for further development for many sectors of economy both in Poland and in other EU member countries, as well as a possibility of cooperation with many partners from outside the European Union.

Firstly we have the design works. Our general attitude is to collect all design documentation in such a way that it is readily available when we must immediately start construction works concerning not only priority projects but also a reserve list. Design works include feasibility (preliminary) studies and building design documents, designing of rail traffic management and control systems, design documents related to power supply systems and other tasks.

Secondly there are the construction works. This means a complex track superstructure renewal, construction or modernisation of rail structures, parallel highways, rail-road level crossings (on railway lines and their sections of maximum speed of 160km/h), drainage, rail traffic control and management facilities and power supply equipment.
Thirdly there are other tasks, for example, engineering supervision.

The majority of works is commissioned by us to external contractors. It results from the type of restructuring of Polish railways, which took place during 2000 and 2001, the type that is similar to the reforms being implemented in 15 EU old member countries. Segments of the former state-owned PKP Railway Undertaking which had dealt with construction works we separated from the infrastructure manager and partly privatised. Agreements with those contractors (and with others too) are being concluded in accordance with binding Public Procurement Law providing non-discriminatory treatment of all bidders. Bidding procedures are going on under a watchful eye of state organs.

Right now we are collaborating with contractors coming from many EU member countries. Like rapidly developing Polish companies they provide timely performance of all works. Smooth collaboration with contractors seems to be an indispensable condition for successful common business.

Contractors are usually consortia under the leadership of outstanding companies cooperating with highly-specialised groups representing the most advanced technology. They are mostly multi-disciplinary consortia and their composition depends on the scope of a given contract.

We guarantee full assistance during fulfillment of investment tasks including track closure in accordance with execution works schedule. We appoint our employees from the investment division of our company to closely cooperate with contractors. So far, we have been able to continue all our modernisation works at the same time, keeping either full rail traffic or slightly restricted traffic on a neighbouring track. We have a lot of experience in the timing of modernisation works.

Announcements on bidding procedures are placed on the website of the Supplement to EU Official Journal; as well as in Polish Biuletyn Zamówieƒ Publicznych;

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