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Poland: Polish railway modernisation programme

October 2008.

The Polish government has plans to invest approximately PLN 7.5 billion in modernizing Polish rail and acquiring rolling stock before 2020 within the takeover programme of Regional Polish State Railways (PKP Przewozy Regionalne) by local governments, Cezary Grabarczyk, the Minister of Infrastructure has informed. PLN 3 billion is to be used by 2015.

The financial means will be provided by the Sectoral Operational Program Transport Structural Fund, state budget and regional operational programs, Grabarczyk told journalists. ‘One of Ministry’s targets is to hand the stations over to local authorities’ he added. ‘By donating PLN 2.16 billion to PKP PR, the Ministry is lowering the company’s losses to PLN 1.188 billion’ Grabarczyk underlined.

An amendment to the law on commercialization, conversion and privatization of Polish State Railways was passed in April. It does account for state subsidies. According to the Minister of Infrastructure, PKP intercity and PKP Cargo should be privatized next year.

The 5th Province Chairmen’s Assembly, who met at the end of September in Mielno, decided that the takeover of Regional Polish State Railways by local governments would be possible if the local authorities acquire 7.4 billion for modernizing Polish rail and acquiring rolling stock in 2009-2020 and would cover the PLN 1.18 losses shown on the company’s balance sheet. The next Assembly is to take place after October 20 in Kraków, the Minister has informed.

The new owners should take over PKP PR on December 1, 2008. Then the local government will be wholly responsible for the organization, performance and financing the railways in particular regions. The conveyance of shares is in line with the government strategy on railway transport till 2013 adopted over a year ago. Prior to that, reduction of the company’s liabilities (PLN 2bn) caused by the past unprofitable regional connections must take place.



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