Skip to main content
Reform Support
Implementation of the high speed rail system in Poland banner

Supporting reforms to foster an attractive business environment and increase competitiveness

Funding Programme
  • 2020

Implementation of the high-speed rail system in Poland

The Commission supported the Polish authorities through two separate projects, aimed at providing CPK (i.e. the special purpose vehicle set up in Poland to develop the high-speed rail and connection with the newly developed Warsaw airport) with enhanced capacity and a solid analytical evidence basis that would allow them to have the technical human resource capacity and to plan the costs and investments required for the roll-out of the high-speed rail network and over the long-term materially introduce climate friendly high-speed rail systems. A private contractor conducted a market analysis/research concerning the structure of the rail market in the EU, the procurement of rail and the average costs involved and provided policy recommendations to the Polish authorities based on the analytical data. To address the limited administrative and operational capacity of Polish authorities in planning and deployment a new high-speed rail system, SNCF (the French implementation authority of the high-speed rail in France) delivered capacity building services and exchange of good practices to all allocated human resources on the Polish side, from the engineers to the managers of the rail. Over 30 interactive workshops have been conducted during 18 months of the project. It covered a wide range of topics, from overall strategic planning and building the administrative capacity of the Polish authorities to establishing the high-speed rail system to particular HSL design standards’ recommendations. More than 1000 participants from the Polish rail sector took part in at least one of the workshops, many of them participated in more than one workshop), discussing hundreds of questions. CPK’s representatives also participated in two study visits in France to get familiar with the issues of HSL maintenance and integrating air & rail transport.


At the onset of the project, Poland was planning to make significant progress in the development of High-Speed Railways. The Centralny Port Komunikacyjny (CPK Sp. z o.o.) is an emerging infrastructure mega project, which would include two major components: a new international airport constructed in the suburbs of Warsaw and a new nationwide railway system consisting of 10 major corridors radiating from the airport towards all regions of Poland. CPK had commenced its planning activities for the planned high-speed rail system at the end of 2018. As part of addressing CPK’s support needs and gaps explained in the request for technical assistance, SNCF would provide its technical and planning experience, and train Polish experts (mainly engineers and designers) on the side of CPK and its partner organisations. CPK also needed to understand the market of high-speed rail (construction companies, engineering companies and others), in particular the cost-side of the market, in order to start planning the first bids for the roll-out of the high-speed rail network in Poland.

Support delivered 

Given the dual support need of CPK (i.e. capacity building and an understanding of the market of high-speed rail in order to plan investments), the support measures envisioned were delivered by two different providers as part of two separate projects:

  • On the capacity building side, SNCF provided, alongside workshops for a large number of Polish engineers, managers and other officials, each deliverable:
    • a high-speed rail system Strategic methodological Recommendation Report;
    • an experience in Rail Integration Report;
    • a high-speed rail system Maintenance Report;
    • Recommendations concerning high-speed rail system design standards.
  • On the market analysis and cost estimation side, an analysis was provided on the structure of the European rail industry, including both financial (i.e. cost setting and price estimation of tenders and contracts) and non-financial elements (i.e. legal and regulatory framework in other EU Member States). Based on this, concrete recommendations to overcome regulatory barriers and potential market failures, increase cost effectiveness, and promote fair competition were formulated.

Results achieved 

The projects achieved the following outcomes:

  • capacity building of CPK staff – better knowledge, understanding, skills and competencies to effectively roll out the Polish high-speed rail system;
  • better understanding by CPK management on what costs to plan, how to procure the investment, which companies have experience in which fields of rail/high-speed rail and can be expected to bid for segments of the procurement of the high-speed rail infrastructure in Poland.
  • additionally, both parts of the project gave the CPK’s side an opportunity to get better prepared to the upcoming tasks that will come along with the development of the CPK Program. The report has built a strong theoretical base to the planning of the procurement process and cost estimating for the construction works. The cooperation with SNCF, as one of the most experienced entities on the high-speed rail market in the world was an unique opportunity to talk over the details of such particular issues like electrification, noise management, drainage, land acquisition, timetabling studies, marketing issues and many others. Knowledge and experience from the workshops and study visits would be unachievable in any other manner and contributed to the developing of Polish transport system.