EIB supports modernisation of Rail Baltica in Poland
19 December 2016 • Author: Katie Sadler, European Railway Review
The EIB will extend a €175m loan to PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. for the modernisation of over 100 km of railway line within the Rail Baltica project – part of the North Sea-Baltic Core Network Corridor. It is hoped the modernisation between Sadowne – Czyżew and Czyżew – Bialystok, will provide passengers with easy long-distance and inter-regional connections linking Baltic States with Poland and other EU countries. The agreement was approved under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for 2014-2020. The total project value is over PLN 2.7bn.
Modernisation plans include the construction of a new double-track bridge over the Bug River and an extra track on the Prostyń Bug – Małkinia section; this will eliminate the only single-track section currently in existence between Warsaw and Białystok and make the entire line between these two cities double-track.
Modernisation of Rail Baltica sections will allow passenger trains to run at 160km/h
The modernisation of all Rail Baltica sections from Warsaw to Bialystok will allow passenger trains to operate at a speed of 160 km/h and shorten the travel time between the two cities from the current 2 hours 26 minutes to less than 2 hours. The project aims to increase the number of rail connections, improve safety and boost travel comfort – passengers will enjoy comfortable and modern platforms with clear information system and facilities for people with reduced mobility. Passengers will be provided with new underpasses and 16 renovated comfortable stops and stations.
In addition, the investment will improve operating conditions for freight railway undertakings. Thanks to the modernisation of the line and the elimination of speed limits, bottlenecks on this part of the TEN-T corridor will be removed and freight trains will run at a speed of 120 km/h.
Commenting on the funding, EIB Vice-President Vazil Hudák -responsible for EIB activities in Poland – stated: “This is a project with a European dimension and a strong climate action focus. We welcome this agreement with PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. because it will result in better quality and higher use of passenger rail services and freight transport in Poland, generating significant energy savings and reductions in harmful emissions.”
Ireneusz Merchel, CEO of PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe SA., added: “PKP Polish Railway Lines S.A. is using funds borrowed from the EIB to improve travel comfort for passengers and the efficiency of freight transport, within, inter alia, the Rail Baltica project – which is an important trans-European transport corridor. PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. implements the National Railway Programme, worth more than PLN 66bn, which will significantly improve the transport system and strengthen the competitiveness of rail.”