Warsaw makes progress on public transport development

Transport plays a major role for Warsaw city is development providing dynamism to the capital through its social and economic, as well as environmental benefits. For the city authorities, raising awareness on the importance of public transport has been translated into services extension and optimisation projects and making rail public transport a priority. Projects that meet the mobility need of the years to come were announced earlier this year and new projects are expected to be launched to cope with the increasing population.

Warsaw is a city that experiences a continuous evolution generated by demographic changes that impose development in the Polish capital, for both urban planning and mobility. In 2016, the city residents amounted to 1.75 million, with a growth in their number by over 4,000 compared to the previous year. Warsaw is one of the few cities of Mazovia Province that experience an increasing number of residents and estimates show that figures will continue to rise. Hence the pressure on the public transport system and the authorities’ focus on developing the public transport network.
For the time being, the capital has a tram network consisting of 25 lines, two metro lines and the SKM network (Urban Rapid Transit) with four lines. According to Warsaw public transport authority, ZTM, 3 million journeys are made every day and more passengers will use public transport if the system becomes more attractive. It is also important to extend the tram network, to develop the metro network, to buy more rolling stock and to upgrade the information and the ticketing systems.
A good example is the recent commissioning (February 2017) of a line 2 extension, on Mehoffera – Nowodwory route (Białołęka district). The section is over 1-km long, replaces bus transport services and is connected to the metro network (Line 1).
Recently, the authorities have announced a series of projects to develop the public rail transport system. At the middle of 2016, the European Investment Bank announced it would consider granting a loan to the construction and modernisation of the tram infrastructure, a project that includes the extension by 5 line sections with a total length of 20 km, the modernisation of 6 sections of existing lines with a total length of 22 km, as well as the construction of a depot and the procurement of 40 trams. The total cost of the project is of approx. EUR 358 million of which EIB’s contribution could amount to EUR 132 million.
In February 2017, ZTM announced it received the environmental permit for the construction of a new tram route in Wilanów district, connecting Warsaw West rail station to Grójecka and representing the first section in Wilanow (Wola – Wilanow West). This is the first tram project that also includes the construction of an underground section. The tunnel will be built between Park West and Jerozolimskie Boulevard. The new 1.4-km double line will be built separately from the road infrastructure. The investment is part of “the construction of Wilanow tram infrastructure and rolling stock procurement” for which ZTM submitted the financing application with the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment 2014-2020.
To increase transport attractiveness, in February, ZTM announced the tender for the procurement of 213 trams, the contract including the delivery of 123 vehicles with the possibility to extend the contract with an order of 90 more units. The contract cost amounts to EUR 538 million. Vehicles will be delivered between 2019 and 2021.

Warsaw West to have tram connection

The development and optimisation of Warsaw public transport services are more than just another objective of local authorities. The national rail infrastructure manager, PKP PLK, announced an important project for the Polish capital: the transformation of Warsaw West rail station in a transport hub. In February, PKP announced the elaboration of the reconstruction plan for Warsaw West rail station that will feature direct connections to the tram and bus networks. The project also includes the modernisation of the diametric line and will be launched in 2019 and commissioned in 2021.
“Currently, we have the architectural and functional passenger concept for the station and in the near future we will choose the contractor for project documentation. Warsaw West will be designed as a multimodal transport hub, with convenient and efficient connections between railways and the public transport system,” said Włodzimierz Żmuda, PKP member of the board.

Metro Line 2 to be extended

There are plans to extend the metro system too. After the commissioning of Line 2, in 2015, the authorities announced the winners of the contract for the extension of the metro. Consequently, in 2017, EU approved the allocation of EUR 432 million, through the Cohesion Fund, for the extension of metro line 2 that will provide connection between the city’s east and west. The European financing will cover the construction of the 6 new metro stations: three on the line’s north-east segment (Trocka, Targówek and Szwedzka) and three on the western section (Księcia Janusza, Młynów and Płocka), but also the construction of a technical terminal and the procurement of 13 trains, as well as the preparation works for the extension of the line.
In June 2016, EIB announced that they could grant a financing of EUR 896 million of the EUR 1.8 billion necessary for metro line 2. The general project includes the construction of 16.4 km of line (part of L2) and 14 stations, the construction of a depot in Mory, as well as the procurement of 59 trains of which 22 will replace the existing rolling stock on line 1 and the remaining 37 units will be placed in service on L2. The sum is also distributed for the central section under Vistula River and the city centre (L2) which has been completed. The second phase considered by EIB for financing includes the extension of the line for both sections of the central section where works are expected to be launched. The project includes 15 km of line, 14 stations and a depot. For the central section, a combined financing mix from the Cohesion Fund, EIB, local management own resources and Warszawskie Metro will be used.
The winners of the project implementation tender were announced in October 2015. Turkish company Gulermark will build the western extension of the section (3,4 km) and Astaldi, the eastern extension of the section (3,1 km). With the 6,5 km extension, Line 2 will measure 13,5 km. According to estimates, the extension construction project will be completed at the end of 2019.

by Pamela Luica

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