In a speech opening the 2nd Railway Development Congress, the Polish President Andrzej Duda said that the railway network has strategic importance to Polish industry, the military and the whole national economy.
President Duda told attendees of the congress that railway transport has and will continue to have significance for shaping policy and gaining an advantage, including on the international stage.
“Looking at the history of the last 30 years, it can be said that the railway first found itself in great decline and later slowly started to come back,” the President said.
He went on to say that the connections which have been lost since the fall of communism in 1989 will be replaced and complemented by new ones. If some turn out to be unprofitable, they will be subsidised by the state.
President Duda added that significant funds have been earmarked for the development of the railway in Poland, stating “It could have been spent on other aims, but is earmarked for the railway and I think you will appreciate that”.
The increasing flow of cargo to and from Polish ports is expected to generate greater demand for rail freight transport. The Polish head of state promised those gathered for the event that the government will continue to invest in Polish port capacity, saying “We want (…) to expand primarily the ports in Gdynia and Gdansk”.
The Polish railway system stands to gain significantly from the government’s plans to build the Solidarność Central Transport Hub (CTH), a major air and rail hub to be built in central Poland by 2027.
The project includes the construction or modernisation of 1,600 km of railway lines, connecting CTH with 100 Polish cities. Some of these lines will constitute Poland’s first high-speed rail lines with trains travelling at 250km/h
The Minister of Infrastructure, Andrzej Adamczyk, also spoke at the Congress, presenting new positive figures. In 2019, Polish railways carried a record-high 335 million passengers, an increase of more than 55 million compared to 2018. The minister stated that producers have full order books and that “dreams are finally being turned into reality”.