Environmental decision issued for two sections of Warsaw – Łódź HSR

two sections of Warsaw–Łódź HSRCPK has obtained an environmental decision for the first of two sections of Warsaw–Łódź HSR and within the next days a tender will be announced for drilling the long-distance tunnel under the centre of Łódź.

The announcement was made by Marcin Horała, the Deputy Minister of Funds and Regional Policy, during the summary of his 1,500 days as the Government Plenipotentiary for CPK.

“Thank you wholeheartedly for these more than four years of uneasy but passionate work. It has resulted in today’s excellent levels of information concerning the CPK rail investment. I leave the CPK project with finance provided until 2030, with a selected minority investor for the airport and with EU funding for the railway part of the project. For the airport, we have a finished design, a pre-construction survey, over 1,200 hectares purchased without expropriating a single person, an environmental decision and a location decision application. Works are already underway in the area of the airport junction and at the tunnel in Łódź,” Marcin Horała said.

The environmental decision for the two sections of Warsaw–Łódź HSR was issued last week by the Regional Director for Environmental Protection (RDOŚ) in Warsaw. The document applies to the section from Warszawa Zachodna to the CPK interchange. This is the first environmental decision obtained by CPK concerning high speed railways.

“This environmental decision is a green light for the construction of the Warsaw – Łódź priority railway line with respect for people and the natural environment. Our goal is to carry out this investment in an optimal way for the region and with the maximum benefit for residents and passengers. This is a key part of the Warsaw – Łódź – Wrocław line, i.e. the most needed track section in Poland,” says Minister Marcin Horała.

The application for the decision was submitted in September of last year. Previously, CPK conducted a year-round meticulous environmental research project. On this basis, an environmental impact report has been prepared which, together with the appendices, has several thousand pages. Comments on the report were submitted by residents as part of the procedure involving public participation in the procedure.

The decision of the Warsaw Regional Director for Environmental Protection is immediately enforceable. The document opens the way for CPK to request water permits, location decisions and then planning permission.

At the same time, an application for an environmental decision for the CPK – Łódź junction section, from national road 50 on the western side of the designed airport to Łódź Fabryczna, is at an advanced stage at the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Łódź.

According to the schedules, the section between Warsaw and Łódź should be passable at the same time as the first stage of the airport becomes operational.

Regarding the tunnel in Łódź, works are already underway and soon the tender for the tunnel construction will be issued. From September, piling is underway as part of strengthening the foundations of the Łódź Culture House (ŁDK), in the vicinity of the Łódź Fabryczna station. This is the result of a contract worth PLN 93 million (EUR 21.47 million) signed by CPK with Keller Polska.

Secondly, last week CPK signed a PLN 147 million (EUR 33.9 million) contract with Budimex for the construction of chambers for the TBM: launching (on Retkini) and receiving (in the vicinity of ŁDK and Łódź Fabryczna). When signing this contract, it was declared that the third stage of the investment will be the drilling of the CPK railway tunnel.

“The tender for drilling the long-distance tunnel in Łódż is ready. In the coming days, this procedure will be formally announced. Work on the construction of the CPK tunnel in Łódź is progressing consistently and according to plan,” says Marcin Horała, the Government Plenipotentiary for CPK.

The CPK tunnel in Łódź will be designed for long-distance trains, in contrast to the one built next to the PKP PLK tunnel, which is regional and only serves the region. In the case of the CPK line, trains will stop at Łódź Fabryczna station. The tunnel is planned to exit south-west of Łódź Kaliska, in the vicinity of the Retkinia housing estate and existing railway line no. 14. Next, the route will lead to the west – towards Sieradz and Wrocław. Between the Fabryczna and Retkinia chambers, the CPK long-distance tunnel will be over 4.6 km long. Due to the high-density development on the surface and difficult soil and water conditions, the tunnel will be made using the TBM drilling method. It will accommodate two tracks. The diameter of the TBM disc intended for tunnel drilling is about 14 metres and the line will be electrified using a 3kV AC system. The design speed in the tunnel is 160 km/h, but at the exit to the surface in the area of Retkini, trains will be able to reach 200 km/h.

The Łódź – Warsaw route will be the first section of the new HSR network in Poland. This is a priority section of the Y-shaped railway, the new railway line between Warsaw, CPK, Łódź, Wrocław and Poznań. On this route, trains will be able to reach up to 250 km/h (design speed is 350 km/h).

Thanks to this investment, travel time between Łódź and Warsaw will be reduced to around 45 minutes (today such a journey takes twice as long). It is assumed that passengers will transfer from Łódź to the CPK airport in about half an hour. On the other hand, the travel time from Wrocław to Łódź will be reduced to about 1 hour 10 minutes (today we this route takes approx. 3 hours), and to Warsaw – to about 1 hour 55 minutes (today such a journey takes more than 4 hours.

For the approximately 1,500 km of the planned CPK rail lines, feasibility studies have already been completed or are being prepared. This procedure has included public consultations, a multi-criteria analysis of options and the identification of the route preferred by the investor – CPK.

For 450 km of the new lines, advanced design is already underway. This applies to these sections: Warsaw – Łódź and Łódź – Wrocław (elements of the Y-shaped line), as well as Katowice – Ostrawa and Łętownia – Rzeszów.

Since the early 1990s, around 5,000 km of tracks have been taken out of service in Poland, while only 50 km of new track has been built. CPK investments are going to reverse this trend. Their implementation means counteracting transport exclusion, which still affects millions of Poles. In total, CPK will build 2,000 km of new lines.

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