Polish rail gets a new life

Never on time, slow, uncomfortable – for more than a decade these were the first things coming to mind when describing trains in Poland. Old carriages and constant delays have put a lot of people off train rides. However, something has changed recently. Is it possible that Polish rail will finally earn some good reputation?

Getting passengers back is a process that has been going on for years. Railroad tracks are being modernized, so that trains can reach higher speeds and arrive at their destinations faster. Old cars are being replaced with brand new units that offer comfortable seats and low level of noise, as well as such modern amenities as Wi-Fi.

The moment rail got everyone’s attention was the purchase of Pendolino – Italian high-speed tilting train that is currently the machine of this kind in Poland. It takes passengers from Warsaw to several other big cities, such as Kraków, Gdynia and Wrocław. The purchase, definitely an expensive one, and heavy media attention it attracted, brought a new life to Polish train travel.

For the first time in many years the number of train passengers is on the rise. The amount of travellers who choose railroad in 2016 is expected to reach as much as 300 million people. This is the best result in a decade. The data collected by the Office of Rail Transport suggest the trend is going to continue.

This month, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Development and The Centre for EU Transport Projects signed a financing deal that will enable rebuilding railway lines between Warsaw and Lublin. If everything goes according to plan, site works will be launched next year. Some substantial investment is also planned for the south of Poland, particularly Kraków.

Among the biggest challenges of the Polish rail is unification of the market and introduction of one train ticket for various lines and destinations. Currently in Poland there are numerous train companies in charge of various train connections. This means a passenger who wants to go on a lengthy journey needs to invest a lot of time to plan their trip and buy appropriate tickets from the right sellers.

The Ministry of Infrastructure is looking into this problem. Minister Andrzej Adamczyk told the media the model functioning in the British Isles is being analysed by ministry experts.

Hopefully, politicians will find a way to make taking a trip by train even more pleasant and popular.