The value of the construction market is expected to rise by one-third in 2014 and reach PLN 5.1bn (€1.2bn). The railway sector will receive more than €10bn from the new EU financial perspective. The development of new railway lines, whose value is put at PLN 15bn (€3.6bn), will acquire significance as a major component of the planned projects. However, it is unlikely that all of the new railway line projects will eventually get underway.
Given that the expected acceleration in capital spending in the railway sector finally did not materialise in the past years, the growth of the railway construction sector is expected to accelerate significantly in 2014, according to the report “Railway construction in Poland 2014 – Development forecasts for 2014-2019” prepared by the research company PMR. As a result, the value of the construction output generated by railway projects is anticipated to top the PLN 5bn (€1.2bn) mark for the first time on record. The market’s output will continue at a high level also throughout 2015 on the back of numerous completions of projects co-financed from the previous EU financial perspective.
The Polish railway sector expects to see more than €10bn worth of funds in co-funding provided by the EU under the 2014-2020 EU budget. A large portion of this amount will be spent on minimally-invasive renewal projects, but the governmental list of investment projects also contains schemes involving the construction of new lines and connecting tracks, which are more complex as they require significant funds and time to implement.
Projects most likely to be implemented are those of the planned sections which are the shortest. Lodz expects to have an addition of nearly 6 km of underground railway tracks by 2020. The expansion is yet another component of the High-Speed Rail system, and it is also a vital part of the Lodz railway junction project. At the beginning of February 2014, Polish Railway Lines (PKP PLK) announced a tender to supplement the feasibility study, which also comprises the development of a functional and utility programme.
Furthermore, the railway link between Katowice and the Pyrzowice airport is a project highly likely to be successful. The scheme is in the design phase, which must be completed by the end of 2015 if the project is to be eligible to receive the EU funding.
Besides, the process of developing the documentation for a connecting track in Krakow has already started; the track will be designed by BBF and Safege. The companies agreed to prepare the pre-design and design documentation and draft tender materials required to select contractors for the construction work for a fee of nearly PLN 10m (€2.4m). The project is expected to be implemented in the 2016-2020 timeframe, while the construction costs are to amount to around PLN 1.7bn (€400m).
The latest project added to the government’s Implementation Document is the construction of a new railway line between Lowicz and Jaktorow, which is expected to facilitate traffic along one of the most heavily used west-bound lines running from Warsaw. The project will cost around PLN 1.7bn (€400m) to implement, but, at this point, it is in the concept phase and it will be a great challenge to complete it within the expected timeframe.
Another project which has not been given the green light, despite several years of planning, is the construction of a faster rail line to Zakopane. The feasibility study for the PLN 6bn (€1.4bn) project is being prepared. Importantly, as opposed to the Jaktorow-Lowicz line, the whole idea of the project is not questioned, and the railway community would expect the project to be continued.
On the other hand, there is no economic viability for another project in the Mazowsze region, i.e. the construction of over 70 km of railway tracks linking Modlin and Plock. The project would provide a link between the recently opened airport and a town with a population of just 100,000, which is not a persuasive argument from the economic point of view given that the expected cost of the project stands at PLN 1.8bn (€430m).