Archive for the ‘PKP Cargo’ Category

By steam from Zbaszynek

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Warsaw Railway Museum Tp3-36 plinthed at Zbaszynek,  built by Hanomag in 1913 as Prussian State Railways 4832 (4804 after 1920) renumbered by DR as 55 2199 in 1925, taken into PKP stock in 1945 and withdrawn from service in 1970. Photo BTWT.

The Wolsztyn Steam Parade has just taken place (29 – 30 April), but I gave the show a miss this year. There is an element of artificially about the event which I do not like, and – with the Smigiel Railway closed – a large part of the reason for making the annual pilgrimage to this corner of Wielkopolska has evaporated.

I heard through the grapevine that this year for the first time PKP Cargo had arranged to bring its VIP guests from Warsaw by motor coach rather than train – a decision which speaks volumes about the sad state of Polish railways.

PKP Cargo operated, Warsaw Railway Museum owned, Pm 36-2 pacific Piekna Helena (Fablok 1937) just coming off the 11:13 arrival (10:41 ex Wolsztyn) at Zbaszynek on 16 March 2011. Photo BTWT.

Instead of visiting the Steam Parade at the end of April I travelled to Zbaszynek a fortnight earlier to ride on the regular Zbaszynek – Wolsztyn – Leszno steam turn. (The steam service has been relocated to this line while the Wolsztyn – Poznan track is upgraded.) While waiting for the arrival of the morning steam turn from Wolsztyn there was time to admire the ex Prussian Railways, Tp3-36 plinthed opposite the old railway works at Zbaszynek.

PKP Cargo EU43-005 (Bombardier TRAXX 2007). Photo BTWT.

Within a minute of seeing PKP Cargo’s oldest operational locomotive arrive at Zbaszynek I was treated to the sight of its newest loco travelling ‘light engine’ in the opposite direction.

The Pm36-2 is kept in spotless condition. Photo BTWT.

While Pm36-2 is kept in immaculate condition, sadly the same cannot be said of its pair of ‘double decker’ coaches which were very dirty and in poor condition. Justifiably they are not very popular with local residents and are due to be replaced by overhauled ‘single decker’ coaches from the New Year.

With no operational turntable at Zbaszynek the the Fablok pacific suffers the indignity of working its train tender-first as far as Wolsztyn.

Pm 36-2 is coaled… Photo BTWT.

The Przewozy Regionalne Osobowy 11:50 ex Zbaszynek  arrived in Wolsztyn at 12:35. Here I cadged a lift on the footplate as far as the shed where the engine was coaled, watered and turned.

55 minutes later, Pm36-2 and its two ‘double deckers’ continued their journey as the 13:30 ex Wolsztyn Osobowy arriving in Leszno at 14:35.

…and having been turned on the Wolsztyn turntable is watered. Photo BTWT.

With 75 kilometre trip from costing only 15.60 zloty (about £3.40) the Zbaszynek to Leszno journey must be the best value steam-hauled trip in Europe.

Checking Pm36-2’s motion. Photo BTWT.

After the loco is coaled at Wolsztyn shed a new crew take over the engine for the rest of the journey to Leszno. Their first duty is to check the bearings and oil the engine.

PKP Cargo goes multimodal

Sunday, 25 April 2010

and declares good result for Q1 2010

The shape of things to come. Container terminal at Malaszewicze.
Photo PKP Cargo.

PKP Cargo has announced plans to spend PLN 405 million (91 million GBP) on capital projects in 2010.

The main projects include the extension of Zabrze – Gliwice, Franowo – Poznan and Malaszewice container terminals. The freight operator also plans to upgrade its current fleet of locomotives, buy new wagons and commission a new vehicle management system. Coupled with new hikes in its rates for carrying wagonload traffic, Cargo is following the strategy of its German rival DB Schenker by focussing on the trainload and multi-modal markets. While DB Schenker is planning to develop its wagonload carrying activities in other parts of Europe, the high track access charges from PKP PLK make such business unattractive in Poland.

PKP Cargo had a deficit of more than 500 million PLN in 2009. In Q1 2010, the company carried 25,51 million tons of freight an improvement of 17.6% over the same period last year and 3% more than the Q1 2010 target. The company plans to deliver a modest profit of 40 million PLN in 2010.

Steam returns to Poznan

Friday, 16 April 2010

OL49-59 and passenger train, Poznan 15 April, 2010.
Photo ©Marek Ciesielski.

After a 10 day hiatus team hauled services returned to the Wolsztyn – Poznan route yesterday. The interruption of steam services since Easter Monday disappointed thousands of tourists, hit the revenue streams of both Przewozy Regionalne and PKP Cargo and damaged the image of Poland’s railways both at home and abroad. The steam hauled services between Wolsztyn and Poznan are subsidised by the Wielkopolska provincial government and a penalty clause comes into operation when the steam trains do not run.

After the steam famine, a feast! Yesterday three engines were in steam at Wolsztyn! Ol49-7 which hauled the morning turns, Ol49-59 which hauled the afternoon train and Tr5-65 which is due to have an inspection regarding the extension of its ticket today.

National Audit Office slams PKP

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Translation of the management summary of the NIK report

The cover page of the NIK report about the PKP group.

(Click image to download the report (in Polish) from the NIK website.

Poland’s Najwyzsza Izba Kontroli (NIK, the National Audit Office) has published a damning report about the management of the PKP group. Following a suggestion from the Parliamentary Infrastructure Committee, NIK decided to examine the way PKP SA, its eight largest subsidiary companies, and the Ministry of Infrastructure, have managed the assets of PKP. The period investigated was 2007 to the 1st quarter 2009.

According to the summary section of the NIK report –

  1. The financial performance of the PKP SA and the subsidiary companies worsened during the audited period.
  2. In addition to the world financial crisis, the reasons for this poor performance were inter alia:
    • delays in pursuing the privatisation of the group;
    • delays in PKP SA’s transferring the real estate necessary for its subsidiary companies to carry out their statutory duties;
    • delays in the disposal of redundant real estate;
    • irrational staffing policies.
  3. The financial reporting and internal auditing processes meet their targets and are reliable. and PKP and the subsidiary companies have maintained an honest approach with respect to their borrowings. The long-term debt of PKP S.A. fell from 10,034.3m PLN (2001) to 3,318.1 PLN (2008). During the same period the long-term debt of the subsidiaries rose fourfold. Short-term debt at the end of the Q.1 2008 stood at 2.833m PLN, of which 1,185m PLN was due to the infrastructure company PKP PLK SA – 567m PLN of this being overdue.
  4. PKP SA performs well in servicing its current debt obligations and the emission of new securities. It has been unnecessary to ask the State Treasury to repay these. (The Treasury guarantees PKP’s debts to the tune of approximately 5,000,000 m PLN.) However, NIK has felt it necessary to warn that the payments of some 2,695 m PLN due in 2010 – 2011 may be at risk if forecast income levels are not met, including income from the sale of PKP Intercity or the disposal of real estate.
  5. PKP SA has not performed well, or diligently, with respect to: the disposal of surplus land; privatising its subsidiary companies; and transferring the real estate necessary for its subsidiaries. In particular –
    • 233 properties (estimated value 62m PLN) which were surplus to requirements, and where the land registry formalities were complete were not offered for sale in 2007, as well as 180 similar properties (value 164m PLN) were not offered for sale in 2008.
    • Of the 129.3m PLN of targeted income from the sale of shares, or privatisation of its companies, only 11.8% was actually achieved. The public issue of shares has been repeatedly postponed.
    • The transfer of land and assets due to its subsidiary companies has not been carried out. In spite of the fact that, as of 31 March 2009, the land registry formalities had been completed for 71.3% of of real estate, comprising railway lines, none of this land had been transferred to PKP PLK . Only 0.02% of the land due to PKP Cargo had been transferred and only 0.25% to PKP Intercity. The remaining land was the subject of leasing agreements.
  6. PKP SA and its subsidiaries have not performed well, or diligently, with respect to utilising all the  funds available. The reasons for this state of affairs include: delays in preparing tender documentation, delays in seeking and obtaining the necessary administrative decisions and delays due to the need to carry out more work than originally specified. For example:
    • In 2007, PKP PLK had 2,279m PLN available for modernisation and refurbishment projects, 2,090m PLN (91.7%) was actually spent. In 2008, 3,341 was available, only 2,502m PLN (74%) was spent. 35 projects had been prioritised in the EU-funded Infrastructure and Environment Operating Programme, but by the end of the control period PKP PLK had submitted the paperwork for just one project.
    • In 2007, PKP SA had 124,6m PLN available for such projects, but only 78% was spent. This figure falls to 63% if Schengen projects are disregarded. In 2008, only 33% was spent of the 77.3m PLN that was available.
  7. Successive ministers responsible for transport have failed to perform well, or diligently,  with respect to –
    • Overseeing and ensuring the transfer of real estate from PKP SA necessary for the PKP subsidiaries to carry out their statutory duties. The additional leasing costs incurred by the subsidiaries are estimated to be not less than 660m PLN. In addition, notwithstanding that 9 years have passed since the passage of the relevant legislation through the Sejm, Ministers have failed to create the conditions which would enable PKP SA to carry out this transfer.
    • Guaranteeing a stable basis for calculating track access charges. Yearly changes to the formula used to charge train operating companies destroys the possibility of any rational planning of train services or developing a long-term strategy with respect to customers. The lack of regulation, necessary to establish track access charges for the long-term, such that the competitive position of rail transport could be maintained, could be a serious barrier to privatisation. Currently track access charges comprise some 25% of the train operating companies costs.
    • Preparing a framework for the way in which the infrastructure management body would operate. This framework has not been prepared notwithstanding that two years have passed since  A strategy for railway transport until 2013 was adopted (envisaging the removal of PKP PLK from the PKP group) and 9 years have passed since the passage of the commercialisation Act. Up to the present time PKP PLK does not enjoy the legal rights of ownership of  railway track. Moreover, as a result of having the status of a user (on the basis of charged usage) it cannot fully carry out its duties as infrastructure manager as laid down in the Railway Transport Act of 28 March 2003.
  8. The negative effect of financial irregularities uncovered during the audit process amounts to 1,140.8m PLN, and the the positive effect amounted to 3.5 thousand PLN.

5th Chabowka Steam Gala

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

V Parowozjazda, 4 – 5 September

V_Parowozjada2009 383

Pt47-65. Photo ©Robert Dylewski

V_Parowozjada2009 339

Ol12-7. Photo ©Robert Dylewski

V_Parowozjada2009 421

Ty2-953. Photo ©Robert Dylewski

More of Robert Dylewski’s photos of this year’s Chabowka Gala can be seen on the Fundacja Era Parowozow website.

PKP Cargo crisis continues

Thursday, 8 January 2009

… unions threaten general strike.


The trade union leaders’ letter

As PKP Cargo teeters on the edge of bankruptcy, railway trade union leaders held an emergency meeting in Warsaw today to plan their response. The unions have sent a letter to Cezary Garbarczyk, the Minister of Infrastructure, and Wojciech Balczun, the Chairman of PKP Cargo. The letter points out that the collapse of PKP Cargo would not only be a personal tragedy for each of the company’s 40,000 employees, but would also have grave effects on the rest of the PKP Group. The unions point out that they have not seen any rescue plan for Cargo. They are demanding an immediate meeting with the Minister and the board members of PKP Cargo. Fifteen union representatives have constituted a strike committee and warn the Minister that if their request is not granted they will organise protest action, which could even include a general strike.

PKP Cargo has been trying to persuade the railway unions to accept 5,000 redundancies without indicating how it intends to arrest the continuing decline in its revenues. The unions have extrapolated the figures shown to them by Cargo bosses and have worked out that 10,000, not 5,000 jobs are at stake. At present, Cargo employs some 40,000 people.

The above, plus the fact that Cargo are setting up some of their workshops as independent entities, would indicate that the PKP main board are trying to improve Cargo’s balance sheet prior to a sale of the company. Our betting is that the Minister will allow the rail unions to call their strike. Cargo will then be allowed to go bankrupt with the Minister blaming the unions. DB Schenker will then ‘rescue’ the company by buying up the parts that are economically sound and take on approximately one third of the present workforce. What’s the betting that Cargo will no longer be part of the PKP Group by the end of 2010?

PKP Cargo – new livery, new owner?

Friday, 2 May 2008

28.04.2008 – First Poland-Germany (Poznan-Seddin)
freight service hauled by TRAXX EU43 locomotive

PKP Cargo, part of the state-owned PKP Group, and Poland’s largest freight carrier, has a new logo. The logo is a derivative of the old logo, but with a cleaner, more modern appearance. When state-run industries start redesigning their logos and web pages it’s usually a good sign that privatisation is not far away. Sure enough, the Polish Sejm Infrastructure Committee is working flat out on a new Act to govern the privatisation of parts of the PKP railway empire. Our betting is that, sooner or later, the German state-owned railway company, Deutsche Bahn AG, will end up owning a controlling interest in PKP Cargo. PKP Cargo S.A. and Railion Deutschland AG have already signed a long-term cooperation agreement. Railon is owned by Deutsche Bahn AG. DB AG has also bought EWS, the UK’s largest rail freight carrier, so if the current difficulties regarding Channel Tunnel rail freight can be overcome, the prospect of moving some of the 1,000 Poland-UK HGV lorry loads onto rail becomes decidedly better.