New Dart passenger trains set off the track

Polish rail took a step forward yesterday, as some brand-new electric trains departed from Warsaw to Lublin on their first journey. Passengers will enjoy new level of comfort and reach their destinations faster than before.

PKP Intercity, a Polish long-distance passenger carrier, introduced the new Dart EMU trains in their latest timetable for 2016. The new units are to reach such Polish cities as Lublin, Bydgoszcz, Jelenia Góra, Wrocław, Łódź, Częstochowa, Katowice, and Bielsko Biała.

The train is of Polish origin and comes from PESA Bydgoszcz SA. The contract between Pesa and InterCity signed in 2014 involves providing the total number of 20 trains as well as servicing them for the period of 15 years. The big investment will cost the Polish carrier around 1.3 billion PLN and is financed in part with EU funds.

The new trains guarantee the comfort of traveling on the European level. Each of the trains will have over 350 seats, 60 of which for the passengers in the first class. The new units offer such conveniences as air conditioning, wireless internet, dining cars, or bicycle stands. Darts are also friendly for people with disabilities, as they are equipped with boarding ramps and wheelchair spaces as well as accessible toilets.

The train purchase is part of a bigger plan of modernizing Polish railroad and attracting passengers to this means of transport. PKP Intercity has already bought 20 EMU trains, called Flirt, from another producer, Stadler Polska from Siedlce. Modernization of old carriages and tracks is also on the way. In December 2014, new high-speed Italian trains called Pendolino were introduced to Polish tracks, drawing a lot of media attention.

PKP Intercity is one of the biggest players on the passenger transport market. The new investments and a media campaign aiming to get train travel to people’s attention brought some good results. In 2015 the carrier experienced a 21.2% rise in the number of customers. The planned number of passengers for 2016 is 37 million.

New investments do not come without problems, though. The Dart trains were to become available to PKP in the middle of December, but PESA Bydgoszcz SA failed to complete the order on time. This means that PKP Intercity may not close their project by the end of the year and lose the EU funding.

An agreement between the producer and the carrier was reached and the deadline prolonged till the end of 2015. PESA vouched to cover any losses incurred by PKP Intercity if the train cars are not completed.