The Polish national infrastructure manager Polskie Linie Kolejowe is embarking on a massive modernisation programme encompassing the nation’s rail infrastructure. The project focuses on ensuring that more trains can travel through the network safely and at higher speeds thanks to the implementation of cutting edge technology. In January 2018, the operator announced that Thales has been selected to help them in this ambition. The group was awarded two contracts, one for line E20 Kunowice-Terespol (crossing Poland from Germany to Belarus borders and excluding the Warsaw node) and the other for line E30 Kraków-Rzeszów (Southern Poland).
After completion, these programmes, with a total value of €182 million (773.3 million Polish zloty), will ensure trains will be able to reach speeds of 160 km/h. Due to the improvements to both lines, trains will travel in total safety, even taking the increased speeds into account.
Thales will design and deliver the signalling and railway traffic control systems, including the implementation of Level 2 ERTMS/ETCS (European Rail Traffic Management System / European Train Control System). The development of line E20 will cover 650 km and include 25 stations and five Local Control Centres (Mińsk Mazowiecki, Błonie, Opalenica, Zbąszynek, Rzepin). In the case of E30, the development will cover 135 km, including 16 stations and two Local Control Centres (Tarnów and Rzeszów).
ERTMS/ETCS is a signalling system designed to limit the number of incidents and ensure that a greater number of trains can be managed safely. It therefore provides a net benefit to Poland in terms of passengers and freight capacities, especially on routes between Western and Eastern Europe. The deployment of Thales’s signalling systems, which are fully compatible with European standards for rail transport, marks an important milestone for the country as it achieves greater and greater integration with its European Union partners.