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Rail Group - Rail policy group meets new rail minister

The theme of the breakfast, held at the Hyatt Hotel, was digital inclusion - extending the reach of broadband internet to parts of Poland that as yet did not have any access to it.

The meeting was particularly well attended, by BPCC members in the consulting, infrastructure, train operating and rolling stock sectors, as well as by representatives of state-owned train operators and local authorities.

The meeting gave members a chance to hear Mr Massel outline the government’s plans for rail in the short and long terms, including the Polish high speed rail (KWP) project, which by 2020 is due to link Warsaw to Wrocław and Poznań via Łódź. The journey time from Warsaw to Wrocław would be cut from five hours to 90 minutes, he said. But in the short term, using the EU funds earmarked for rail in the current (2007-2013) budget perspective is the biggest challenge facing Polish railways.

The current investment – driven by the impending Euro2012 football championships –

in Poland’s main railway stations would, said Mr Massel, have a significant role in improving the image of Polish railways.

He mentioned the EU Directive which prevented member states from raising more than 35% of the costs of rail infrastructure from train operators, saying that the Polish government sought a derogation from this Directive. There was a consensus among participants that such a derogation would be bad for the rail industry in Poland.