Archive for May 19th, 2010

Gora – Bojanowo fights for its future

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Special train and the line’s supporters, 15:.05.2010.
Photo Gorow District Council.

(Click on image to see more photos of on the Gorow District Council website.)

Poland’s General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways (GDDKiA) has begun formal proceedings to close the railway line between Bojanowo and Gora Slaska. The line which still carries a regular freight service lies in the way of the route of the new S5 trunk road. Rather than face the expense of constructing a bridge over the line, the GDDKiA believe it could save itself the cost if the line was closed.

The line closure is being opposed by the Gorow District Council and Irena Krzyskievicz, the Mayor of Gora. Some 10 businesses in the area rely on the line’s freight services and there are discussions under way with the provincial government about restoring passenger services using a diesel railcar. On May 15, the Wroclaw Railway Enthusiasts Club organised a special train on the line to publicise the fight for its survival.

Poland’s vanishing railway lines

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The two tracks on the left lead to the site of Gdansk’s first railway station. Photo Ewa Kowalska.

(Click image to see more photos by Ewa Kowalska on the ibedeker.pl portal and read her article [in Polish] about the damage by thieves to the 17th century walls in this area.)

In a frank interview with wnp.pl’s Piotr Stefaniak, Zbigniew Szafranski, the chairman of Poland State Railway’s infrastructure company PKP PLK, paints a stark picture about the deteriorating Polish railway network.

For many years we have been running a deficit as regards the amount of track that we rennovate and the track where we have to apply speed limits. This year we have had to reduce speed limits on 1,477 km of track and we have raised speed limits on only 638 km. Our schedule for 2011 is even worse, we will be able to raise speed limits on 421 km of track,  but we will be reducing speed limits on 1978 km. We are also assuming that we will be closing 1,523 km of track. Currently we are running on just over 19 thousand route kilometres, ten years ago it was 23 thousand.

We have over 5,000 temporary speed restrictions. This works out on average as one such speed restriction every 4 km. Although it’s true that such bottlenecks aren’t evenly distributed. If someone travels from Krakow to Rzeszow they will encounter 80 such speed restrictions. The journey turns into a nightmare.

Szafranski goes on to explain that by 2015, some 3,600 route km of track will have been renovated – leaving the remaining 15,400 km in a worse state than they were before! Although the EU is contributing some 4,300 million PLN to upgrade the so-called TEN-T routes, for this to happen PKP PLK needs to find some 5,600 million PLN of match funding. Unfortunately, the money for this simply isn’t there – it will have to be borrowed from the European Investment bank saddling PKP with heavy debt servicing costs. Szafranski reckons it would cost 47,000 million PLN to bring the rest of the network up to scratch. At the current rate of progress this would take him 43 years!