PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe is implementing
successive stages of expansion and modernization of the railway
system in and around the Port of Gdynia. The huge investment is to
help in the functioning of, among others, intermodal transport and
significantly speed up and facilitate the handling of freight trains
in the port.
PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe has completed the next stages of a large infrastructural operation at the Port of Gdynia. As part of the investment worth a total of over PLN 1.6 billion, a total of 115 km of tracks will be modernized and 332 turnouts will be built. One railway viaduct is ready, the second is under construction, and the third road viaduct along Pucka Street, stretched over ten tracks, is to be commissioned by the end of the year.
The whole investment is complicated and huge. In some places, as many as 30 tracks were laid side by side. Thanks to them and numerous turnouts, more trains will be able to enter the port. The railway viaduct will be used for trouble-free and collision-free exit of trains from container terminals.
– It is a much needed investment. The arrival and departure capacity of goods will increase several times – says Andrzej Osipów, Director of the Northern Region of PKP PLK. – Heavy trains with a length of 750 meters will enter. There is also a Local Traffic Control Centre. The trains will run at a speed of 60 km/h on the main tracks, and 40 km/h on the side tracks.
The investment also included a new public cargo hold and 13 underground retention tanks along with a new sanitary and rainwater drainage network, whose task is to ensure proper drainage of the area. The bridge over the Chylonka River was also renovated.
– The huge reconstruction of the Port Gdynia station is an investment that has not been seen in the Port of Gdynia since the war. We can imagine what condition the infrastructure was in as there were trees on some of the tracks. The investment which modernizes all tracks, including main tracks, holding tracks and sidings, increases the maneuvering possibilities in the port area fourfold. After all, we have to maneuver the trains around the port – comments Kazimierz Koralewski, Vice-President of the Port of Gdynia Authority.
As Andrzej Osipów notes, the Polish state, through the hands of PKP PLK, has invested heavily in recent years in accessibility to ports in Gdynia and Gdańsk. The works were financially supported from EU funds, from the CEF - Connecting Europe programme.
However, the completion of works at the Port of Gdynia and the improvement of the possibility of maneuvering trains in the immediate hinterland of the port will not solve all railway problems. Operators mainly complain about the fact that freight trains have limited access to ports. Due to the small number of lines and high density of trains - the same lines are also used by passenger trains - freight trains often have to wait for long hours, e.g. in Bydgoszcz, before they can even enter the Tri-City. Port stakeholders have for years emphasized the need to modernize line 201 from Bydgoszcz through Kościerzyna to Gdynia, which was built during the Second Polish Republic. Many of them mentioned this line as an absolutely necessary element for the development of intermodal transshipments in Poland. Andrzej Osipów, director of the Northern Region of PKP PLK, confirms that work on this line will start this year.
– It will be a double-track, electrified line, passenger trains will run at 160 and 140 km/h, and freight trains at 120 and 100 km/h. This will be a comprehensive modernization of the line, which will allow in the future to bring and export goods to the port of Gdynia through Kościerzyna into the interior of Poland - says Osipów. The works are to be completed in 2027. – Once the Port of Gdynia will have new lands built on the sea, it will have this line at its disposal – adds Osipów.
The director notes that this will be an even larger investment than those implemented in the ports of Gdańsk and Gdynia. PKP PLK's investments in the Port of Gdynia cost a total of about PLN 1.6 billion, the works already completed at the Port of Gdańsk amounted to nearly PLN 1.3 billion.
– The line from Bydgoszcz will cost much more. At the moment, we are still estimating the funds, but it will be 173 km of lines in modern technologies - says Andrzej Osipów.
Line 201 is awaited at the Port of Gdynia as much as the Red Road, which is to enable more efficient transport by trucks.
- It will allow to increase transshipment in the port, and we plan to build an external port, and thus increase the transshipment capacity of containers and more. We are the largest grain port, and it is primarily the railway that handles this type of cargo – notes Kazimierz Koralewski, Vice-President of the Port of Gdynia.
In addition to faster, easier, more efficient and safer handling of rail cargo, the Port of Gdynia sees other opportunities in the investments implemented by PKP PLK.
– PLK also electrify and electronicize, i.e. they automate station control. Traffic will become safer. Control from control centers and control over these processes is something we will need in the future to launch artificial intelligence, which will one day manage traffic in the port - explains Kazimierz Koralewski.