Rail line upgrade promises quicker, safer journeys

A key stretch of railway between the Polish cities of Warsaw and Gdynia is being modernised through a project that will provide a more efficient service for passengers and freight while safeguarding the local environment.

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The objective of this project is to comprehensively modernise a 60.32 km stretch of track on the Warsaw-Gdynia section of the E65 railway line – specifically in the Ciechanów Local Control Centre (LCC). The upgrade will bring strategic benefits to the region by improving rail passenger transport on one of the priority routes of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). The area covered by the project includes the northern part of the Mazowieckie Voivodship, from Świercze to Mława – including the stations at both locations.

Upgrading the line will allow current speed restrictions to be lifted. Indeed, adapting the line specifications will make it possible to achieve a maximum speed of 160 km/hour for passenger trains and up to 200 km/hour for passenger carrying tilting trains. Maximum speeds for freight traffic are expected to reach 120 km/hour. The changes will also provide scope to increase axle loads to 225 kilonewtons while improving traffic safety. In addition, the upgrade will meet requirements laid down in various international rail and interoperability agreements.

A comprehensive work schedule

Project goals will be achieved by modernising track systems including subgrade, earthworks and drainage. Basic level traffic control systems will be installed along the tracks. A contact system upgrade will cover 135 km of the network and all power supply equipment will be upgraded to 1 kilovolt. Meanwhile a new telecommunications network and related equipment will be overlaid on existing communications infrastructure.

As part of the scheme, the majority of vehicle and pedestrian level crossings will be removed. Eight pedestrian underpasses will be constructed and one vehicle level crossing will be modernised. Building work will also include the construction of seven bridges, ten railway viaducts, 21 road viaducts and one vehicle/pedestrian viaduct.

The project has factored in environmental protection through plans to adapt or construct 39 culverts and six overpasses which will allow animals to pass safely under or over the rail line.

Reducing journey times

The modernisation will reduce journey times between Warsaw and Gdańsk and between towns along the route. For example, journey times will be cut by about 25 minutes for qualified trains and 10 minutes for slow passenger trains in the Ciechanów LCC sector. On the E65 line (Warsaw-Gdańsk) journeys on qualified trains will come down by about 97 minutes and slow train journey times will by reduced by about 45 minutes. In 2013 these improvements will result in passenger journey time savings worth approximately EUR 44.51 million/year.

The Polish Government has adopted a ‘Master Plan for Rail Transport in Poland up to 2030’. It states that from 2021 only passenger trains will run on the E65 line. This project falls under a master plan priority which aims at improving passenger and freight transport on TEN-T routes.

Total and EU funding

The project “Modernisation of E65/C-E65 railway line section Warszawa-Gdynia – LCS Ciechanów” has a total eligible budget of EUR 424 375 222, with the Cohesion Fund contributing EUR 270 072 391 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date