CZ/SK verze

“High-Speed Lines Are Not Just Transit Lines to the Main Airport, but Will Connect the Largest Centres of the Silesian Agglomeration in the Czech Republic and Poland,” Says the New Head of the Supervisory Board of CPK SA

“High-Speed Lines Are Not Just Transit Lines to the Main Airport, but Will Connect the Largest Centres of the Silesian Agglomeration in the Czech Republic and Poland,” Says the New Head of the Supervisory Board of CPK SA
photo: Kurier Kolejowy / Public domain/Zbigniew Szafrański
16 / 05 / 2024

We exclusively present an interview with Zbigniew Szafrański, the newly appointed chairman of the supervisory board of CPK SA, the investment company of the Polish HSR and airport.

Czech-Polish cooperation has been successful in pushing through a proposal to include the Central European high-speed rail network in the revision of the TEN-T regulation. How do you intend to use the funds that TEN-T projects can claim in the EU? What will be the priorities for spending the funds?

Yes, the priorities remain the same, i.e. to build the basic axes of the “Y” project Warsaw-Lodz-Wroclaw/Poznań, as well as the HSR Katowice-Ostrava. In Poland, we would like to ensure that the inhabitants of Silesia perceive the Katowice-Ostrava HSR not only as a transit transport project, but also that this high-speed line improves regional transport accessibility between the largest centres of the Silesian industrial agglomeration, which in the case of this HSR are Katowice, Raciborz, and Silesian Wodzisław. These transport nodes should be logically connected to the new railway infrastructure, and regional train services should also be able to use the high-speed line.

Will this require changes in the structure of CPK and PKP PLK?

Not yet. I think we are focusing on creating functional cooperation between the two companies at the personal level. CPK and PKP PLK are already talking at the management level about future cooperation, especially where the high-speed rail projects and PKP PLK's priority project “Kolej +”, which is a development and modernization program of the existing railway infrastructure in Poland, converge. We want to make the most of the potential of both companies.

How do you imagine the next necessary steps in the Czech-Polish cooperation, in Central Europe, in the Tricity, for example, with the Rail Baltica project?

Of course, we want to continue our cooperation. The Czech and Polish Ministries of Transport and also the railway infrastructure managers are cooperating at a working level. In February in Prague, I took part in such a meeting, and I also attended a conference on high-speed railways organized by the Railway Administration. One problem emerged in the past: although we have a single railway network in Poland, and it does not matter which entity is building the infrastructure, on the Polish side two entities, CPK and PKP PLK, were present separately in the negotiations with the Czech side, and it was the first time ever that we in Prague together.

What about the cost of high-speed rail? Are you oriented in the cost structure of the project to the French, Spanish, or other model?

Most of our planned lines will be on flat terrain. The most difficult is the section from Warsaw to Łódź. We are trying to find a solution that will be cost-effective but, at the same time, will not have a negative impact on the functionality of the lines. We do not expect any extremely high costs, but we want to keep them within a reasonable level. The experience of HSR in France, which has experience not only in the construction and transport use of lines but also in projects to increase speed on existing railway infrastructure, is a model for us in this respect. Also, our trains will be coming and going from high-speed lines to conventional lines. Cost predictability is a key factor in our decision-making. I would also like to say that the economic success of airports lies in their traffic, but they cannot be served exclusively by passengers from high-speed rail. That is why we are preparing the HSR independently of the political decision on the construction of the new airport near Warsaw.