PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe (PKP PLK) and the Centre for EU Transport Projects (CEUTP) signed a PLN 4 billion (EUR 872 million) agreement for the modernisation of Polish rail line 104 linking Chabówka and Nowy Sącz. The financing will cover the entire value of the project and will come from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) which guarantees the implementation of the project.
This agreement will allow PKP PLK to start the construction works on line split into two sections: Chabówka – Rabka Zaryte and Klęczany – Nowy Sącz.
“We have taken another step towards the implementation of the programme known as the Podłęże – Piekiełko project. This is a key railway project for the inhabitants of Małopolska [the Lesser Voivodeship]. It will combat the communication exclusion of the southern part of the region. Construction works will start soon,” the Minister of Infrastructure Andrzej Adamczyk said.
The modernisation of route No. 104 will ensure easier access to trains and efficient and comfortable journeys. In addition to the modernisation of tracks and engineering facilities, all stations and stops will be improved and works will be also implemented for the reconstruction of platforms and construction of new facilities to increase the access for passengers with reduced mobility. An underground passage with an elevator is also planned at the Rabka Zaryte station which will increase access to the railway. On the section between the siding in Klęczany and Nowy Sącz, the Marcinkowice station as well as Nowy Sącz Chełmiec and Nowy Sącz Miasto stops will be reconstructed. Higher platforms and new underground passages, elevator and access routes will facilitate travel and allow better access to the railway for all travelers.
The modernisation of the single-track line No. 104 is part of a larger project launched by the PKP PLK including a new connection between Podłęże and Piekiełko which is being prepared. In addition to the modernisation and electrification of the 75 km Chabówka – Nowy Sącz route, the project also involves the construction of a 58 km new line connecting Podłęże with Tymbark and Mszana Dolna. The project also involves modernisation and construction works for 13 tunnels with a total length of 17.6 km and 9 viaducts totalling 9 km. This year, tenders were also announced for the modernisation of Rabka Zaryte – Mszana Dolna and Limanowa – Klęczany sections.
In January 2019, PKP PLK and a consortium led by Egis signed a PLN 180 million (EUR 39 million, in current prices) design documentation contract for the construction of Podłęże – Szczyrzyc – Tymbark / Mszana Dolna line and the modernisation of line No. 104. The entire project comprises the construction and modernisation of 82 rail bridges, 33 viaducts, 74 rail-road crossings and 326 culverts. The main propose of these two projects covers the design of the new section and modernisation of the existing one by adapting it to the TEN-T standards. This will include the installation of the ERTMS Level 2 which will allow passenger trains to run at 120 km/h and freight trains, at 100 km/h. In addition, the deployment of the digital signalling system and the electrification works on Podłęże – Tymbark and Szczyrzyc – Mszana Dolna will enable passenger trains to travel safely at 160 km/h and freight trains at 120 km/h.
The modernisation of Polish rail line 104 will increase travel opportunities and connections in the Lesser Voivodeship after 20 years on disruption. In 2004, rail passenger services have been closed and freight traffic was sporadic due to a speed limit of 30 km/h. In addition, the project will contribute to more efficient and faster rail services to some of the most popular tourist destinations in the country (Tatry, Beskidy, Gorce) from Krakow and other large agglomerations.
“Comprehensive actions and preparations of PLK bring us closer to the implementation of the investment on the line No. 104 Chabówka – Nowy Sącz. The signed agreement is a proof of the commitment. Thanks to this, further steps will be possible to achieve the goal of the project, restoring railway connections and increasing transport accessibility for residents,” Ireneusz Merchel, the President of the Management Board of PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe said.
In February 2022, the rail infrastructure manager has announced four tenders worth PLN 4.6 billion (EUR 1 billion) for the modernisation of the Polish rail line 104, a rail section of the Katowice rail node and the Geniusze – Kuźnica Białostocka section on the line No. 6, to increase capacity for freight transport.
This investment project will integrate the No. 104 line with country’s rail network and will develop the international freight transport on north-south direction closing the gap of the RFC 11 Amber corridor on the Baltic – Balkans – Black Sea axis. It will partially relieve the rail freight transport on the RFC 5 Baltic – Adriatic corridor running through the highly urbanised area of Upper Silesia region.
44 km of line will be reconstructed, including 29 km on the TEN-T network improving passenger and freight traffic on:
Chabowka – Rabka Zaryte – 5.52 km (section A1);
Rabka Zaryte – Mszana Dolna – 9.60 km (section A2);
Limanowa station – 3.48 km (section C2);
Limanowa (without the Limanowa station) – Klęczany siding – 12.62 km (section D);
Klęczany – Nowy Sącz siding – 12.67 km (section E).
The new engineering facilities include 10 rail bridges and 4 road bridges, 11 rail viaducts and 6 road viaducts, the construction of Męcina station and a new passenger stop in Mordarka.