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PKP Intercity Sums Up a Historical 2022: Almost 59 Million Travellers, Increased Funding and New Contracts

PKP Intercity Sums Up a Historical 2022: Almost 59 Million Travellers, Increased Funding and New Contracts
photo: PKP Intercity/PKP Intercity Sums Up a Historical 2022: Almost 59 Million Travellers, Increased Funding and New Contracts
04 / 01 / 2023

The last twelve months have been marked by record-breaking journeys for PKP Intercity. Almost 59 million people used the Polish national carrier's services in 2022, contributing to the best transport result in the company's history. It beat the record set in 2019 when nearly 49 million travellers travelled on the carrier's trains.

Travel with PKP Intercity was in demand throughout the year. The operation of attractive offers with systematic investments in modern rolling stock contributed to greater interest in weekday travel and an average train attendance increase.

The first monthly freight record was set in May when more than 5.26 million people travelled with PKP Intercity. The following months saw a continuation of the upward trend in train attendance: in June, almost 5.5 million travellers travelled with the carrier, while in July, almost 6.5 million. In August, many more people used the carrier's services – over 6.5 million. Thus, August 2022 became the month with the highest attendance in the history of PKP Intercity.

"We have been rebuilding the role of railways in Poland for several years, and the past year has shown that we are on the right track to achieve our goal of making train travel as popular as possible. The record results are a source of pride for us, as well as an expression of confidence on the part of travellers. However, we are not resting on our laurels and are rolling up our sleeves for further hard work. We hope to significantly improve on the 2022 result in the coming years. One of the things that will help us to do this is multi-billion-pound investments in rolling stock and infrastructure. Thanks to them, the fashion for rail will become even more widespread," says Marek Chraniuk, CEO of PKP Intercity.

Greater investment in the Polish railway

Equally a year ago, at the beginning of January 2022, PKP Intercity announced an extension of its development and investment strategy with a view to 2030. The funds the company will invest by the end of this decade have increased from PLN 19 billion to PLN 27 billion. By then, PKP Intercity's fleet will have been largely replaced, with all the carrier's vehicles being new or modernised.

As a result, the carrier plans to run around twice as many trains in 2030 and offer passengers a high and uniform standard of travel. Travelling at speeds 160-250 km/h will become the standard, reducing journey times. The new vehicles will also be tailored to the needs of different audiences, including those travelling with children or people with disabilities. The value of the investments contracted by PKP Intercity as part of its rolling stock strategy already amounts to PLN 7 billion gross.

New contracts for modern rolling stock 

To achieve its objectives, last year, PKP Intercity signed contracts for modernisation and the purchase of modern rolling stock with a total gross value of more than PLN 1.4 billion. 

At the beginning of April 2022, the national carrier signed a contract with the Poznan-based H. Cegielski Railway Vehicles Factory for the modernisation of 90 coaches, which, once completed, will run as second-class compartment coaches on InterCity category trains. The gross value of the order is almost PLN 495 million.

The next step in strengthening PKP Intercity's car fleet was the signing of a contract with PESA Bydgoszcz in September 2022 for the modernisation of 59 carriages of the 152A and 154A series. The execution of all works will close to PLN 376 million gross, and after modernisation, the vehicles will offer numerous amenities to travellers, such as WI-FI, individual lighting, new air conditioning, a dynamic information system presented on light boards or new bouncing-sliding doors. The Bydgoszcz-based manufacturer will also produce 16 new diesel-electric locomotives for the national carrier, with a maximum speed of 160 km/h in electric traction and 120 km/h in diesel traction. The contract signed in October 2022 has a gross value of PLN 554.6 million.

This year, PKP Intercity took delivery of, among others, 2 of the 12 FLIRT-type electric multiple-unit trains manufactured at the Stadler Polska factory in Siedlce and of most of the 81 new carriages ordered from the Poznan-based manufacturer H. Cegielski - Fabryka Pojazdów Szynowych.

Largest tender in PKP Intercity's history

PKP Intercity announced in November the largest rolling stock tender in its history regarding the number of vehicles. Upon completion of the order, the carrier's rolling stock will be increased by as many as 300 new carriages, and the right-of option will enable the purchase of an additional 150 vehicles. This purchase will introduce a new design standard and travel comfort into the PKP Intercity offer.

"It is our most important tender in recent years, and its implementation will be a milestone towards our investment strategy realisation. The new quality will attract millions more travellers to our trains. With the new carriages, we will meet the expectations of different groups of passengers - cyclists, people with children or those travelling alone. We are sure that thanks to such investments, rail will soon become the number one means of transport," adds Chraniuk.

The innovative approach in the announced tender concerns both visual and technical issues. The prepared design of the new vehicles is a package of stylistic and functional solutions that will become a repetitive, intuitive and characteristic standard of PKP Intercity. Among the novelties will be a space designed for parents travelling with children, which will combine the passenger section with a safe play area, allowing comfortable travel with toddlers. The restaurant carriages will also change, gaining a more intimate and atmospheric interior. 

Not only rolling stock but also infrastructure

The past year also saw new and modernised infrastructure buildings. In July, PKP Intercity completed the reconstruction of the automatic train washing facility at Warszawa Grochów station. Thanks to the investment, the time taken to wash a single train set was shortened, the standard of rolling stock maintenance was raised, and the facility operates all year round, regardless of weather conditions. The Wrocław siding, where the third stage of modernisation works in the locomotive shed is underway, is also gaining a new face. In November, the construction of an all-year-round automatic car wash facility was officially inaugurated. At the Wrocław sidings, the water management of the facility will be improved, and the standard of rolling stock maintenance and ergonomics of the employed specialists will be raised.

New sales system

Last year, PKP Intercity closed with the largest IT investment in its over 20-year history. The carrier signed three agreements, thanks to which travellers can buy train tickets using a completely new internet sales system. The first agreement concerns the e-IC 2.0 Internet sales system, and the second and third concern the licence, implementation and maintenance of the new Central Sales System and the booking service. The systems' contractor will be PKP Informatyka, and the total value of all contracts is more than PLN 143 million gross. It is planned to make the e-IC 2.0 system available to passengers in the last months of 2023, and they will be able to use the full functionality of the new system in the last quarter of 2024.

Greater support from the European Union

Rail is the most environmentally friendly means of public transport, and its development is in line with the European Green Deal. Therefore, EU funds are a crucial part of the financing of investments related to the purchase of rolling stock by PKP Intercity. In June 2022, at the Centre for EU Transport Projects headquarters, the carrier signed annexes increasing co-financing not only for rolling stock projects but infrastructure projects. As a result, it will receive a total of PLN 1 billion from the European Union.

PKP Intercity's rating stable

Once again, the rating agency Fitch has affirmed PKP Intercity's long-term domestic and foreign currency ratings at BBB+. The long-term domestic rating was affirmed at AA(pol.). The rating was influenced by the public services implementation under the PSC contract, which guarantees to raise external funding for further rolling stock and infrastructure investments. The agency noted that the rapid recovery in passenger numbers in 2022 shows that trains are becoming the preferred mode of transport.

Cooperation with Krakow University of Technology

Student internships and apprenticeships, study visits, specialised lectures, courses and training, dual majors and specialisations, as well as joint research and development projects and the promotion of environmentally friendly travel – these are the most vital points of the agreement on scientific, technical and educational cooperation between Krakow University of Technology and PKP Intercity.

Another important point of the agreement from the end of 2022 will be the promotion of the railway industry and its development among the public, the promotion of the transfer of scientific achievements to the railway industry through the organisation of conferences, seminars, workshops and symposia with the participation of students and academic staff, joint industry and scientific publications, cooperation with the university's career office, and participation in advisory bodies of the partners to plan joint teaching and research and development activities.

 

Source: PKP Intercity Press Releases

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