Posts Tagged ‘Warsaw-Lodz’

France takes pole position in race to build and equip Polish high speed rail

Thursday, 5 June 2008


Alstom’s 360 kmph AGV

In a daring display of French audacity, and showing none of the recitence of their more staid European rivals, the French Embassy in Warsaw hosted a very successful two day seminar on modern transport solutions. The detailed management of the seminar, which took place on 2 and 3 June was handled by UBIFRANCE, the French Agency for international business development together with the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure. The seminar targeted Polish decision makers involved in railway transport and public transport. The French delegation was lead by Mr Dominique Bussereau, the French Minister for the Environment, Energy, Sustainable Development and Land Use Planning, while the Polish delegation was lead by Poland’s Minister of Infrastructure, Mr Cezary Grabarczyk and also included Deputy Minister Juliusz Engelhard, who carries Ministry’s railways portfolio.

The first session discussed public transport in Poland and France, paying particular attention to urban transport development and the role of local authorities in planning and running public transport services. The second session, focussed on high speed rail, an area where French engineers lead the world, and Poland plans for a “Y” shaped high speed system from Warsaw to Wroclaw and Poznan, via Lodz. Other matters that were discussed included financing options for the EUR8 billion project as well as the role of private-public partnerships.

Mr Busserau (third left), Mr Engelhard (right)
Mr Grabarczyk (third right)

During Tuesday’s session Mr Grabarczyk announced that the plan to build Poland’s high speed railway is due to be submitted for government approval in the next few months. Mr Grabarczyk added that he hoped to have a feasibility study completed by 2010 and to to begin track construction by 2014 with a view to completion in 2019. “The priority is linking into the European network,” he commented.

The aim is to have 35 separate trains serving the line. Poland will be inviting bids for the locomotives and rolling stock, Grabarczyk said. However, he did not hide his admiration for the new AGV train from the French group Alstom, which is due to go into service in Italy in 2011 and is set a service speed record of 360 kilometers per hour. “The AGV doesn’t seem to have any competition,” he said.

Currently, the 345 km rail trip from Warsaw to Wroclaw drags out for five and a half hours, the 330 km from Warsaw to Poznan lasts three hours and the 130 km Warsaw to Lodz takes two and a half hours. High speed trains could cover either of the first two journeys in around an hour and the Warsaw-Lodz trip in less than half an hour.

Seminar Programme pdf download (WARNING – French text)

Drunk in charge of a train

Friday, 21 March 2008


PCC Rail locomotive 181.010-0

Yesterday’s Polsat TV News carried a news item about how passengers travelling on many trains on the Warsaw-Lodz line were seriously delayed after a PCC Rail diesel hauled freight train from Warsaw to Sosnowiec stopped mysteriously near Rogow. Single line working was in operation on this section because of the major rebuilding of the line currently in progress. Controllers at the Rogow signal box became seriously concerned as passenger trains began to stack up on both sides of the blockage and called out the police. The Police entered the cab and discovered both drivers fast asleep. Apparently they had a heavy drinking session the previous night. An interesting question arises, given that the train was actually stationary at the time the police boarded the locomotive, can they charge them with driving a train while incapacitated?

Perhaps some good may come from the incident? Passengers forced to sit for 5 hours or more on the back-breaking seats fitted in the new electric trains may be angry enough to complain. PKP Prewozy Regionalne bought 11 of the new trains for 171 m PLN from Pesa Bydgoszcz Holding SA with the assistance of funding from the EU.