By the year 2030, significant modifications are expected to be implemented in the Polish railway sector. It is anticipated that these changes will yield positive outcome and present opportunities for the railway sector to reach its full potential. The implementation of the CPK Railway Program, which includes the construction of 2000 km of new HSR lines and the enhancement of existing key railway sections in Poland, is set to have a profound impact on travel times for both domestic and international long-distance routes.
The liberalization of the long-distance passenger transport market, facilitated by competitive processes, will lead to an expansion in the number of available train services and a decline in ticket prices. Furthermore, the focus on sustainable mobility trends and investment measures prioritizing rail users (both travellers and cargo owners) will foster increased interest in rail transport.
The incorporation of these elements will introduce a higher level of proficiency within the railway industry. Through the convergence of various factors, the very dynamics of how market participants operate will undergo a notable shift, thereby ushering in a renewed beginning for the railways. By closely observing similar developments occurring in other EU countries, we can postulate that the railway system will adopt a less bureaucratic and more commercially-driven approach, mirroring the transformative journey undertaken by the aviation sector in recent years.
The steering decisions made today will have a direct impact on the extent to which the potential of these positive changes can be realized, and whether a substantial increase in rail transport can be witnessed. Therefore, what is required is a coherent plan, founded on thorough analysis, knowledge, and quantitative data to streamline decision-making processes.
To meet these challenges, Centralny Port Komunikacyjny has developed a comprehensive analytical and planning approach utilizing advanced transport analytics tools. These tools are not only employed for conducting studies on individual investment projects within the CPK Railway Program, but they have also been instrumental in conceptualizing the development of passenger and intermodal freight transport. The holistic planning for the CPK Rail Program involves the following elements:
- Horizontal Timetable (HT): a concept that combines investments in infrastructure and train traffic
- Local Mobility Hubs (LMH): a concept with focus on transfer hubs that are connected to the surrounding area, focusing on safety and user convenience
- Intermodal Terminals Network (ITN): a concept with focus on intermodal container and semi-trailer terminals that operate in a network to shift some of the freight traffic from road to rail
- Passenger Transport Model (PTM): an IT tool for predicting traffic in all modes of transport and understanding passenger transport demand
- Freight Transport Model (FTM): a similar tool for forecasting freight traffic from and to Poland as well as transiting traffic with a worldwide perspective
- Microsimulation-Analytical Model (MAM): a digital model of the national rail network that checks if the rail infrastructure can handle the planned traffic
- Cost-benefit analysis model (CPK CBA Model): a tool to assess the economic efficiency of the transport system and infrastructure investments
All of these elements are incorporated in a process that is executed in an iterative manner to plan an efficient railway transport system. It allows us to address crucial inquiries: where will passengers and cargo be moving? What will be the scale of transport? Will the infrastructure be adequate for the required timetable? This will enable us to ensure consistency in transport and investment assumptions for individual railway lines and, after their implementation, achieve a significant increase in transport volumes. Consequently, this will prevent oversizing or underinvestment in infrastructure and establish investment priorities based on knowledge and figures.
Implementing such a well-structured and methodical process will yield advantages for all participants in the market. Passengers will benefit from a clearly formulated, convenient, and cyclical timetable, along with the provision of high-quality station and transfer facilities. Cargo shippers will appreciate increased and stable capacity, as well as access to intermodal infrastructure.
Additionally, national, municipal, and local transport providers will be able to synchronize their activities based on a coherent network. Investments, in turn, will have clearly defined objectives and serve functional needs. This level of precision is attainable when employing a rolling stock and infrastructure investment planning strategy grounded in well-defined requirements.
the White Book on Railway Development
The White Book on Railway Development outlines the methodologies for conducting planning activities along with the necessary tools and concepts. It presents a novel approach to the planning process, drawing inspiration from practices implemented more widely in other EU countries, while still catering to the specificities and requirements of Poland and the CEE region. This approach allows for a deliberate definition of the scope, prioritization, and cost estimation of investment projects. Additionally, it provides a solid foundation and substantial support for decision-making. By implementing these prescribed solutions, stability, predictability, and readiness to handle future changes in railway development can be ensured.