Poland: Waiting for Pendolino trains
4 June 2014 • Author(s): Piotr Malepszak, Director of the Railroads Office at PKP PLK S.A
The manager of the Polish state-owned railway infrastructure – PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. (PLK S.A.) – is implementing the largest investment programme in its history; its value, between 2012 and 2015, will amount to over €6 billion. For European Railway Review, Piotr Malepszak – Director of the Railroads Office at PKP PLK S.A – explains that the main characteristics of this huge programme are all about the optimal utilisation of the Pendolino trains which are to roll onto Polish tracks later this year, plus important infrastructure modernisation works.
In December 2014, 20 EIC Premium trains, commonly known as Pendolinos, will commence regular services on Polish tracks. The units, purchased by the domestic operator PKP Intercity, are to link Warsaw with the largest cities: Gdańsk, Wrocław, Krakow and Katowice. The preparations for this momentous event have entered their most important phase. Dynamic tests of the Pendolinos on the network managed by PKP PLK S.A. were completed shortly before the end of 2013.
On 24 November 2013, a new chapter opened in the history of the Polish railways. It was on that day when a Pendolino train taking part in certification tests reached the speed of 293km/h on the Central Rail Line linking Warsaw and Katowice. Not only was it the fastest speed ever reached by trains in Poland, but also the best result ever for the Pendolino trains in general. The test rides were performed in compliance with applicable safety rules on the part of the test sectionthat was suitable for accelerating to such a speed. During thPKPe course of the tests, PKP PLK S.A. was able to verify the traction network and the new tracks, whereas PKP Energetyka examined the power supply system. The outcome of the tests showed that, in practical terms, both the train and the infrastructure are ready for regular Pendolino services on Polish tracks starting from December 2014. The experience gained during the tests will be applied at the decisive stage of preliminary work prior to launching regular services with the new trains.