Intercity link upgrade runs to schedule

Poland is engaged in a nationwide effort to improve rail transport. One major project is modernisation of the 132 km rail line between Warsaw and Łódź, the country’s two largest cities. When completed by 2013, it will speed up journey times, increase passenger safety, and reduce rail transport’s impact on the environment.

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Train carrying passengers on faster, revamped rail lines Train carrying passengers on faster, revamped rail lines

“Despite some limited disruptions recently on the Warsaw – Łódź railway line, I believe that the modernisation process will ultimately be very beneficial for this line and the region in general.”
Halina Cięższkowska, primary school teacher

The work includes track replacement, infrastructure improvements and environmental protection measures. A new high-speed route, from Warsaw to Wroclaw, will soon be built to complement this line.

Two stages

The national rail network covers some 23 500 km, mostly managed by Polish State Railways (PKP SA). Under the 2004 to 2006 National Development Plan, Poland has been modernising its intercity lines and those which are part of key European rail routes.

Like many intercity lines across the nation, the one between Poland’s capital, Warsaw, and its second-biggest city, Łódź, urgently needed upgrading. With European co-funding that covers 75% of the total eligible cost, a project was started to improve this line and its infrastructure. The main goals were to boost train speeds and curb the negative impact on the local environment.

Design and construction work is divided into two stages, lasting a total of six years. Now completed, the first stage covers a 62.8 km section from Skierniewice to Łódź Widzew. The slightly longer stage two, from Skierniewice to Warsaw, will see the construction of over 69 km of track and is expected to end in 2013.

Faster, quieter and greener

With stage one completed, the Warsaw – Łódź line has two new tunnels for pedestrians. Four bridges, six viaducts and 37 railway level crossings have also been modernised.

Environmental protection structures were installed over more than nine kilometres. These include jointless rails and a layer of stone ballast to reduce train noise. Other new facilities both at stations and along the line help to prevent pollution of underground water and protected zones. Engineers have also created passages and bridges for animals to cross the line safely.

While the modernisation process has caused some disruption to normal rail service, a recent passenger survey showed that almost 70% view this process as ‘good or very good’. Once the entire 132-km line has been modernised, trains will run much faster than they do today, at up to 160 km/hr.
Travel times from Warsaw to Łódź have been reduced from an average of 55 minutes to an average of 36 minutes. As a result, passenger satisfaction has increased and the attractiveness and competitiveness of the Łódzkie and Mazowieckie regions has been enhanced. It may also help to shift some regional road transport to rail.

Draft date

17/12/2009