Polish railway modernization key to Europe’s west-east link

2012-11-29 - Record investment in electrification helping reduce travel time for rail passengers across the region

By ABB Communications

PKP Intercity train with Euro 2012 host city Poznan motif on locomotive (Image courtesy of PKP Intercity).

Poland has one of the largest railway systems in Central Europe with around 20,000 kilometers of track and more than half electrified using 3 kilovolt (kV) direct current (DC) overhead lines. The system forms an important economic arterial link between western and eastern Europe. Many of the countries in the region also boast large railway networks with ever growing passenger and freight traffic, which is placing mounting pressure on the Polish railway network to modernize both its domestic and international routes.

To meet these challenges PKP Energetyka S.A, the company responsible for the supply of electric energy to Polish railroad operators, is investing in railway substations to extend electrification to a further 1,000 km of conventional track, allowing more trains to operate at 160km/h, and plans to develop about 450 km of new high-speed track, so that passengers can travel between the cities of Warsaw, Lodz and Kalisz at speeds of more than 200 km/h. To achieve this ambition PKP Energetyka has ordered 138 rectifiers for almost $39 million from ABB to join several hundred others already in service on the Polish State Railways. These will ensure that DC power, with high standards of reliability, is available to operators even as demands for electric energy escalate.

ABB has grown its rail activities considerably in recent years, evolving from an outsider to a supplier to major train manufacturers and local network operators. ABB is a leading manufacturer of traction transformers, traction motors and converters, which supply the vehicle’s traction and auxiliary power. Its portfolio includes low- and medium-voltage products as well as semiconductors and surge arresters. For diesel trains, ABB is a leading supplier of generators and turbochargers.

The installation of ABB rectifiers will ensure Polish railways remain a key network in Europe ready to handle ever increasing freight volumes to and from China, as well as providing a safer and faster route for passenger travel. PKP Energetyka has been active on the Polish market since 2001, trading and distributing electricity, and selling liquid fuel to rail contractors. In addition, the company also offers specialized services in the power sector.

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    PKP Intercity train leaving Warsaw (Image courtesy of PKP Intercity).
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