Proposal for passenger railways in Woivodship Lubelskie

The region of southern Lubelskie, called Zamojszczyzna, is the poorer part of the poorest region in the European Union (as for 2005), where the average GDP per capita has the lowest level among all other regions in 25 countries. Yet a quick analysis of this part of the region brings about another observation: badly implemented railway reforms that were implemented in recent years in Poland caused that this region lost nearly all services. The level of rail usage per person here is probably the lowest in all of the EU regions. It shocks, because in this region there is a network of railway lines between the towns that could be in fact used for regional rail traffic and carry thousands of passengers yearly. However, bad management, lack of expertise, cause that this is unlikely to occur and the region bases its whole traffic on the road network.

Zamość, the capital of the area, has a railway station far in the suburbs, although the tracks go directly through the city centre and there are no obstacles to open at least a small platform in the direct vicinity of the most demanded destination of regional trips.

There only calls one local train daily in Zamość (66, 5 thousand inhabitants). The only relation served by local train is the one to Rzeszów, where the passengers continue to travel to Wrocław. This is the only connection available in regional traffic, however it is of limited use as it departs at 1944. There are two long-distance trains daily- one to the north (Lublin), and one to Wrocław in the south. Both depart in early morning.

Local connections to Hrubieszów are no longer served. Even if they were, their task was to offer possibility to change for some of the long-distance traffic and these trains have also circulated once or twice daily. Railway has lost all of its customers in the last 17 years of systemic transformation. The level of service shows that no regional customers are even addressed. Long distance traffic dominates. If some customers are carried in local relations, it is rather by accident than on permanent basis, due to the unsuitable schedule and general lack of offer in the main regional transport corridors.

Steps to revive the regional railway services in Zamojszczyzna region
There are no real limitations to the reintroduction of passenger rail services between the towns of the Zamość area. Another facilitating factor is that in Zamość there is located one of the larger Polish railway operators- PKP LHS sp. z o.o., a subsidiary of state owned railway company PKP S.A. However, this state-owned enterprise performs solely freight traffic on the broad-gauge railway line (the iron ore line) passing through Zamość. However, it is proposed for regional authorities to use political pressure to convince this state-owned enterprise with some significant overstaffing to diversify into regional rail services in the Zamość area. Such services in Poland can be operated so that the state subsidies will cover operational deficits, and the Lubelskie voivodship has one of he largest amounts of funds in the country to subsidize such services. Another option is the proposal to open tendering procedure for these services. However, there is little experience with such tenders in Poland.

Without any doubts the first step in the process of railway revival is the construction of the main train station in the direct centre of Zamość, several hundred meters to the south from the market square of its historical centre (that nota bene is included in the Unesco list of World heritage due to its outstanding architecture from the renaissance era). The proposed name for this new train stop, consisting of simple platform along the tracks, would be Zamość Stare Miasto (Old Town).

This step allows to reintroduce the regional services to Hrubieszów Miasto (18,6 thousand inhabitants, 50 km to the east of Zamość). These services were run by the regional rail services subsidiary of PKP S.A. The schedule has been constantly reduced over time until some remnants (approx. 1-2 connections daily) were finally cancelled. Whole traffic switched to busses and the road network is already saturated. In 1999 3 pairs of connections daily were offered, and the passenger flow was 338 passengers daily even at this so poor schedule. Busses offer more than 31 connections daily on this route. PKS alone offers 24 connections daily.

The services from Zamość to Hrubieszów would run hourly with an approximate journey time of 40- 50 minutes. Another possibility is to reintroduce services to Biłgoraj (26,9 thousand inhabitants, 60 km to the west). This is another larger town of the area without any regional traffic. The line from Hrubieszów to Zamość can be easily prolonged to Biłgoraj using the existing underused railway line. The journey time would be 50 minutes. A connection hourly or every 2 hours is proposed. There is a need for connecting bus service from Biłgoraj rail station to the centre. The branch of the railway line was in the past entering the Biłgoraj city centre, but this piece of track was dismantled. It would cost at least 1 million euro to lay the new track on the former place so that the rail line would enter the city core.

Another proposal is to reintroduce regional services on the line to Susiec and Bełżec in the Roztocze region, located to the south of Zamość. Probably the Roztocze region can be the epicenter of European poverty. A glimpse from the train window allows to observe that most of the houses along the railway line are made of wood. There are several larger villages along the railway line to Susiec and Bełżec. There is only demand for 5-7 connections daily on that route. A two-hourly service to Susiec (journey time: 1 hour 10 minutes) with some services running to Bełżec (journey time: 1 hour 30 minutes) depending on the development of demand for them would be a competitive transport offer and would allow to the inhabitants of the area struck by poverty the ability to quickly travel to the capital of the region. Thanks to this offer the Roztocze region would regain regional rail services that were mostly abandoned due to the very poor quality of offered services by the state railways.

The introduction of two-hourly service on the regional lines Zamość- Susiec and Zamość- Biłgoraj creates an hourly service on the Zwierzyn- Szczbrzeszyn- Zamość line. There is a need for a connecting service to Szczebrzeszyn (5,3 thousand inhabitants) and Józefów (2,5 thousand inhabitants) city centers, that lie in such a distance from the rail line, that the lack of such connecting services would result in low passenger figures.
It is proposed to dense the schedule in the peak time and introduce the suburban peak services from Zamość Północny through Zamość centre to Klemensów and Bodaczów using an industrial branch. From there, some connecting bus service to Szczebrzeszyn city centre would be thinkable.

Lublin line
The journey with the Kolej Nadwiślańska main line from Lublin to the beginning of the Zamość branch line takes approx. 32 minutes. The remaining 60 km takes for the long-distance train an hour and 40 minutes. It is possible to upgrade this stretch on line to 120 km/h. Assuming that no new infrastructure would be added except for the viaduct in Zawada, the journey time could be cut to approx. 30-32 minutes. The whole journey from Lublin o Zamość would take 65 minutes, with stops in Świdnik Miasto, Trawniki and Krasnystaw Miasto. Hourly connections are thinkable. Tilting trains could be used. The cost of the upgrade would have to be estimated.

Major lines- LHS line
It is proposed to upgrade LHS line to the speeds of 100- 120 km/h and introduce direct services from Zamość Północny to Katowice and Wrocław, with the possibility to change in Sędziszów for the trains to Kraków. Such move would cut the journey time to Katowice by half, from current nearly 8 hours to 3,5 hours.
The LHS line is a broadgauge line (1520 mm- such as the railway gauge in former Soviet Union), what means that the track is 85 millimeters wider than the normal track. Near Olkusz or Bukowno the trains would have to be regauged from the normal gauge to the broad gauge to enter the LHS line. Such regauging was practicised on commercially operated railway lines in Poland already and proved to not to cause any problems.

The trains from Wrocław or Katowice would stop between Katowice and Zamość only in Olkusz, Sędziszów, Staszów, Wola Baranowska, and Zamość. The introduction of tilting trains on this line would even enable to cut the journey time from Katowice to Zamość to 2 hours 30 minutes. However, this would be more costly (circa $175 mln for the upgrade of the line only, plus 20 $ for two diesel tilting train sets for regional traffic).

A direct Intercity service between Southern Poland and Kiev would also go by LHS line. The connection through LHS line and Kovel is the shortest way to Kiev. LHS could be a part of the intercity line from Kiev to the west of Europe. Connections from Minsk to the south of Poland via Zamość are also thinkable.

The Eastern Poland Mainline
Wschodnia Magistrala Kolejowa, the Eastern Poland Mainline is a proposal to connect with each other the large economic centers of Eastern Poland. Such rail connection is currently absent. Even if some possibility to travel this route exists, the journey time and the amount of train changes that is involved when travelling on this route make it completely impracticable.

The southern part of the line would connect Przemyśl, Jarosław, Lubaczów, Zamość, with Lublin where there is a possibility to change for the Vistula Valley Mainline (Kolej Nadwiślańska) connecting Lublin with Warsaw.

The northern part of the Eastern Poland Mainline would connect Lublin through Lubartów, Łuków, Siedlce, Sokołów Podlaski, Małkinia, entering the Warsaw-Petersburg Mainline (Kolej Warszawsko-Petersburska) and ending in Białystok. The line would be served with diesel multiple units. It would provide the link between the largest towns of eastern Poland.

In the first stage no new tracks are needed, it is assumed that existing lines will be used more efficiently. The paragraph below describes the possible upgrade of this line to provide faster link to Zamość Lwiv, and other towns of southern Poland.

New Lwiv line
The major line would be the Lwiv line, linking West Ukraine with Warsaw. The current journey time between Lwiv and Warsaw fell from approx. 5 hours before the WWII to more than 9 hours currently. There is a potential to reintroduce direct services between Lwiv and Warsaw using the track regauging unit at Zamość Boratycze. The Intercity trains trom Warsaw would stop in Lublin, Zamość Północny and then pass by Hrubieszów to Ukraine and continue through Izov to Lwiv or Kiev. However, the journey time will be a bit long and less attractive.

The reintroduction of quicker connections require to build a set of new rail lines. To cut the journey times from Warsaw to Zamość it is necessary to build the rail by-pass of Zawada, where the train have to change direction. A viaduct over the road and LHS line would reduce this problem. Completely new section of track is needed between Zamość and Bełżec. A railway line existed here, but was dismantled. This new line would allow to offer regional rail services from Zamość to Tomaszów Mazowiecki (20 thousand inhabitant) and would significantly reduce journey time to Lviv. The total length of the proposed new line is 42 km, and the estimated cost is 168 mln euro.

A 15-km-long shortcut to avoid Rejowiec is also needed. Similarly, a railway line was existing earlier but was dismantled. Some of the land strip that remained after the former line could be used. The total cost of the investment would be approx. 230 mln euro. Line would be diesel-powered, gauge-switching device would be installed in Rawa Ruska. Journey time could be cut to 4-5 hours.

Cheaper option would be the introduction of a tilting train on the line through Bełżec, Zawada
and Rejowiec, without any new infrastructure built. Assuming that no new infrastructure would be added except for the viaduct in Zawada, the journey time could be at approx. 5-6 hours. Lwiv Rawa Ruska stretch (66 km) has to be upgraded, as now the journey time there is 2 hours 30 minutes on this short stretch, as some sources inform. This is too slow to attract international traffic.

Posted by Adam Phoo on 08:52. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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