Poland to receive grant to finance high-speed train fleet

The European Commission has ruled that providing €93 million to fund the purchase of new long-distance trains for Polish operator PKP Intercity (PKP IC) is acceptable under EU state aid rules.

PKP IC will use the money to partly finance 20 high-speed Pendolino trains purchased from Alstom in 2011, with additional funding coming in the form of a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to cover the remainder of the €430 million programme.

The EU said the new trains would improve “the country’s territorial cohesion and the accessibility of individual region” and that using public money would “further EU cohesion and transport objectives without unduly distorting competition”.

Joaquín Almunia, Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy, said: “The use of high-performance trains will improve the offer of alternative means of passenger transport in Poland. This should result in a more balanced transport system, decrease the negative effects of transport on the environment and limit traffic congestion.”

The new trains, which have now completed 20,000 kilometres in dynamic testing on the Polish network, will operate on routes linking Warsaw with Gdansk, Katowice, Krakow and Wroclaw from December 2014.