PKP PLK completes Malaszewicze track expansion and prepares more
The Polish infrastructure manager PKP PLK has just completed a key upgrade project in Malaszewicze. The rail freight section now has three additional tracks that can facilitate the transit of more trains, thus increasing capacity. More works are planned for the Biała Podlaska station, which is also critical for cross-border traffic on the Warsaw-Terespol axis.
Within 2024, the Biała Podlaska upgrade will also be complete. This project entails the expansion of the station’s railway tracks. Specifically, the location will acquire ten more tracks that will be able to receive 750-metre-long trains. Works will also focus on building an overhead catenary network and installing switches and rail traffic control equipment. The cost of these two projects is 123 million Polish Zloty (around 28 million euros) and is financed through public funds.
More expansion on the way
The works in Malaszewicze, the most important border crossing for Eurasian transport, are just a tiny fraction of what will follow. That is because the Polish Infrastructure Ministry has pledged to invest significantly in the broader Malaszewicze transhipment area. As announced by Jakub Kapturzak, deputy director of rail at the Polish Infrastructure Ministry, during the RailFreight Summit Poland last April, the investment will reach 3,8 billion Polish Zloty (820 million euros) and will not use any EU funds for its financing.
The investment proposal has already been submitted to the Polish parliament and expects approval. According to Kapturzak, the approval will most likely arrive before the Polish elections that will take place in late 2023. A possible hiccup that the project could face concerns the overall investment amount, especially considering that the EU will not contribute. Kapturzak explained that the estimated costs were 800 million euros when the Ministry approved the project. However, now they have reached a billion euros due to inflation and rising construction and energy costs.
At this point, it is uncertain how the remaining 200 million euros will be raised. It could be that the parliament approves the funding of the additional costs, but it could also be that these costs will have to be covered by the occupants of Malaszewicze. In such a case, PKP PLK may want to discuss if the costs can be shared among the terminals, the government official elaborated, adding that with the investment currently discussed, the actual works can start.