Wielkpolska to go it alone?

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wielkopolska_railbus
PESA twin coach articulated railbus bought by the Wielkopolska provincial government to operate local services.

At a meeting of the Wielkopolska regional government on 28 September, councillors voted to break away from the local authority-owned local operator PKP Przewozy Regionalne and to set up their own operating company Koleje Wielkopolskie on similar lines to Koleje Mazowieckie serving Warsaw and the rest of Mazowsze province.

The reasons driving the change are financial. Rather than tackle reform of PKP Przewozy Regionalne head on and to reform the company, the government simply ‘gave’ PKP PR to the local authorities. The latter found the gift a poisoned chalice. PKP PR still has a communist-era management team and the company remains a bottomless pit for absorbing subsidies.

In 2007, PKP PR received 36 million zloty from the Wielkopolska regional government, for 2010 the company is asking for 82 million zloty. With its expenditure greatly exceeding income, PKP PR’s debts are rising and some commentators have analysed PKP PR’s potential liabilities as being as high as 1.5 billion zloty. In March this year, Infrastructure Minister, Cezary Grabarczyk, announced a government investment package of 3.6 billion zloty upto the end of 2015 – which averages out a 600 million zloty  – a year. The package is supposed to allow PKP PR to replace its ageing fleet. So far there is no sign of any new trains coming.

Given the scale of PKP PR’s problems it is no wonder that the councillors of Wielkopolska have decided they would be better off running their own railway company.

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One Response to “Wielkpolska to go it alone?”

  1. Gavin Whitelaw Says:

    Ageing rolling stock. If I recollect correctly they use some of the oldest rolling stock in Poland somewhere near Poznan…

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