PKP IC orders Pendolino


but tilting trains won’t tilt!

Latest generation tilting train, the New Pendolino ETR 600. From a photo by Mathew Black in Wikimedia Commons.

(Click on image for details of licensing.)

PKP Intercity, has awarded Alstom a contract to supply 20 New Pendolino trains, their full maintenance up to 17 years and the construction of a new maintenance depot. The first trains are scheduled for delivery in 2014. The 7-car train sets will cost €20 million each. Alstom will also supply full maintenance of the trains up to 17 years in a new depot of 12.000 m² which will be built in Warsaw. The maintenance package will bring the total cost of the contract to €665 million.

PKP SA, the holding company responsible for all the PKP daughter companies, originally hoped to attract an EU grant for the purchase of the high speed trains. Indeed the feasibility study for the EU finance assisted Warsaw – Gdansk track upgrading specifically required that the upgrading be compatible with the introduction of tilting train technology. However, the German railway industry lobbied hard against PKP acquiring the Pendalinos and receiving any EU assistance. In the end Alstom has agreed to give PKP IC another three months to complete its funding package.

PKP IC will operate the trains on existing routes in Poland: Warsaw – Gdansk – Gdynia; Warsaw – Krakow; Warsaw – Katowice. The train sets will be able to carry up to 402 passengers and have a maximum speed of 250 km/h. In practice, given the state of Poland’s railway infrastructure, it is unlikely that the trains will operate anywhere above 200 km/h (125 mph) and they will only operate at 200km on a short section of the 1970s built CMK between Warsaw and Krakow. For the rest the trains will be throttled down to 160 km/h (100 mph) or less.

Pendolino’s tilting train technology would have been ideal on the sharply curved section of the Warsaw – Gdynia line on the section Dzialdowo – Ilawa – Malbork. There just one problem – PKP IC has chosen to buy the Pendalino trains without the tilting mechanism!

2 Responses to “PKP IC orders Pendolino”

  1. Gavin Whitelaw Says:

    You couldn’t make it up.

    This contract will bleed PKP dry – and it will be money that will come from other projects and can be ill afforded. Why not refurbish some of the existing coaches that are lying around? The railways are in a parlous financial state yet PKP Intercity seem to be able to squander 665 Million Euros on 20 train sets with maintenance when the rest of the system is screaming out for much needed and deferred maintenance……Go figure where the money will be going as usual!

    Much better to refurbish what they do have and THEN invest in new infrastructure and rolling stock. But then the managers love the fur coat and no knickers scenario where the press attention is focused on the new trains when the rest of the system is near meltdown!

  2. Warwickian Says:

    I can only concur that spending money on such a scheme appears to be a complete folly. With line upgrades cancelled due to poor project management, I cannot see PKP IC getting good use out of the sets. On a positive note, at least they have had the foresight not to buy sets with a tilting option. That would only raise the price tag of the units and infrastructure upgrades even higher. What did the WCML project cost in the end? £9bn rings a bell! The whole project has a fishy taste to it. PKP IC has coaching stock rusting in sidings due to not doing routine vehicle exams to save money on the maintenance budgets. TLK’s are overcrowded, and operate with reduced coaches. Yet, on the other hand, they can afford a project such as this?

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