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PKP Intercity Targets 70 Million Passengers in 2024, Expanding International Connections

INFRASTRUCTUREPKP Intercity Targets 70 Million Passengers in 2024, Expanding International Connections

By the end of November 2023, PKP Intercity transported 62 million passengers. This already heralds the best annual result in the carrier’s history. The company estimates that a total of 67 million people will use their services by the end of the year. The good results are influenced by the extensive network of connections, modern rolling stock, and sales channels. “In 2024, we aim to exceed the magical barrier of 70 million passengers,” says Tomasz Gontarz, Deputy CEO of PKP Intercity, and announces that there will be more and more international connections in the offer.

“The past year has been absolutely record-breaking for PKP Intercity. In mid-November, we transported the 60-millionth passenger. This beats the company’s record from last year, as we transported 59 million passengers in 2022,” says Tomasz Gontarz to Newseria Biznes agency.

By the end of November this year, the carrier transported 62 million people. This is 8.2 million more than at the end of November the previous year. Almost every month this year, the company broke records in popularity of its services. The carrier achieved the highest result in July, when 7.1 million travelers used its services. The entire holiday season also proved to be record-breaking. PKP Intercity transported 20.3 million passengers from June to August, 10% more than in the same period in 2022, and 44% more than in 2019 – the last holidays before the pandemic. The company estimates that the entire 2023 may close with a result of 67 million passengers.

“Several factors contribute to the fact that Poles have started to use the railway in such large numbers. Primarily, these are investments that have been made in recent years, not only in railway routes, modernization of platforms, tracks, traction network, the ability to accelerate on sections of the railway network to a speed of 160 km/h, which is now a standard of modernization in Poland, but primarily investments in rolling stock,” points out the Deputy CEO of PKP Intercity.

The company is consistently implementing the rolling stock strategy, within which by 2030, all vehicles in the carrier’s park will be new or modernized. The next step in its implementation is the tender procedure started in December for the purchase of 35 new hybrid traction sets. In addition to the electric drive, they will have a combustion drive enabling transit through unelectrified sections. The sets will be adapted for speeds of at least 160 km/h in electric traction and 120 km/h during driving with the use of a combustion engine.

In December, the company also signed a contract with Newag for the purchase of 46 new, single-system electric locomotives, with the first ones hitting the tracks as early as 2024. After the implementation of this contract, there will be a total of 96 modern locomotives of this manufacturer in the carrier’s rolling stock park, reaching speeds of up to 160 km/h. Newag also won the tender for the supply of 63 multi-system electric locomotives with an option of ordering another 32 vehicles accelerating up to 200 km/h.

“It took a lot of effort to improve the quality of our rolling stock, buy new locomotives, new electric traction sets, new carriages and make them available to passengers. If someone has an image of railways from the 90s or the beginning of the 2000s, they may experience a big shock. The rolling stock is air-conditioned, modern, comfortable, speeds up to high speeds, 160–200 km/h, and has all the conveniences needed for travel, such as GSM amplifiers or Wi-Fi network,” assures Tomasz Gontarz.

In the new annual timetable for the 2023/2024 season, which came into force on December 10, the comfort of traveling is supposed to be greater. The number of TLK category trains has decreased (from 57 to 54), while the number of IC category connections, served by new and modernized wagons as well as electric traction sets, has increased (from 274 to 303).

To attract customers, PKP Intercity is also expanding its network of connections. On average, it launches 417 trains per day, which is 27 more than in the previous season. During the holiday season, 454 trains are expected to run, 24 more than this year. The average daily number of year-round international connections is also higher – currently, there are 63 connections compared to 52 in the previous season. The daily IC Odra train connects Krakow with Berlin, and the IC Danubius train connects Wrocław and Krakow with Vienna. Since December 10, the IC Chopin connection has been running on an extended route from Warsaw to Munich.

“We need to remember about certain limitations related to international traffic, for example, that neighboring countries may have a different voltage in the electric network, which means we need special locomotives that would allow travel from Poland abroad. That’s why we are buying multi-system locomotives, which will allow a smooth ride from Poland to Germany,” notes the Deputy CEO of PKP Intercity.

Modern sets and an increased number of connections are supposed to help attract new customers. In 2030, when the modernization of the rolling stock will be completed, the company plans to transport 88 million people.

“Our goal is to transport more than 70 million passengers in 2024, and to continue our investment programs without major disruptions. 2030, according to our strategy, this is the moment when all our trains will be modernized to the latest standards or new, and a lot of work has to be done to achieve this goal,” evaluates Tomasz Gontarz.

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