The European Investment Bank (EIB) has extended a EUR 175m loan to Polish railway company PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. for the modernisation of over 100 km of railway line within the Rail Baltica project – part of the North Sea-Baltic Core Network Corridor.
Thanks to the modernisation of two sections – Sadowne – Czyżew and Czyżew – Bialystok – passengers will gain easy long-distance and inter-regional connections. Rail Baltica is the only railway connection linking the Baltic States with Poland and other European Union countries.
EIB Vice-President Vazil Hudák, responsible for EIB activities in Poland, stated: “This is a project with a European dimension and a strong climate action focus. We welcome this agreement with PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. because it will result in better quality and higher use of passenger rail services and freight transport in Poland, generating significant energy savings and reductions in harmful emissions.”
Ireneusz Merchel, CEO of PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe SA., added: “PKP Polish Railway Lines S.A. is using funds borrowed from the EIB to improve travel comfort for passengers and the efficiency of freight transport, within, inter alia, the Rail Baltica project – which is an important trans-European transport corridor. PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. implements the National Railway Programme, worth more than PLN 66bn, which will significantly improve the transport system and strengthen the competitiveness of rail.”
Today PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. signed the loan agreement with the European Investment Bank for investment projects on two sections of Rail Baltica, which were also approved under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding instrument for 2014-2020. The total project value is over PLN 2.7bn.
The works on the Sadowne – Czyżew and Czyżew – Białystok sections will modernise 106 km of railway line. A new double-track bridge over the Bug River will be constructed and an extra track on the Prostyń Bug – Małkinia section will be added; this will eliminate the only single-track section currently in existence between Warsaw and Białystok and make the entire line between these two cities double-track.
The modernisation of all Rail Baltica sections from Warsaw to Bialystok will allow passenger trains to run at a speed of 160 km/h and shorten the travel time between the two cities from the current 2 hours 26 minutes to less than 2 hours. The project will also make it possible to increase the number of rail connections, improve safety and boost travel comfort – passengers will enjoy comfortable and modern platforms with clear information system and facilities for people with reduced mobility. Passengers will be provided with new underpasses and 16 renovated comfortable stops and stations.
Furthermore, the investment will significantly improve operating conditions for freight railway undertakings. Thanks to the modernisation of the line and the elimination of speed limits, bottlenecks on this part of the TEN-T corridor will be removed and freight trains will run at a speed of 120 km/h.
The projects on the Sadowne – Czyżew and Czyżew – Bialystok sections add to the portfolio of investment projects co-financed by national/EU funds and EIB loans, and are to be seen in the context of the long-term cooperation between EIB and PLK. 16 loans with the EIB have been signed so far (since 2001), with a total value of approximately EUR 2.8bn allocated to the co-financing of investment projects financed with a contribution from European Union grants.