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Transport in Poland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Transport in Poland involves air, water, road and rail transportation. The country has a large network of municipal public transport, such as buses, trams and the metro. As a country located at the 'cross-roads' of Europe, Poland, with its highly developed economy, is a nation with a large and increasingly modern network of transport infrastructure.

The country's most important waterway is the Vistula river. The largest seaports are the Port of Gdańsk, the Port of Gdynia and the Port of Szczecin. Air travel is generally used for international travel, with many flights originating at Warsaw Chopin Airport. Railways connect all of Poland's major cities and the state-owned Polish State Railways (PKP) corporation, through its subsidiaries, runs a great number of domestic and international services of varying speed and comfort. In addition to this, five out of sixteen Polish voivodeships have their own provincial rail service providers.

Rail transport

Railways in Poland
Railways in Poland
Wrocław Główny railway station, the busiest train station in Wrocław.
Wrocław Główny railway station, the busiest train station in Wrocław.
Gdańsk Main Station, one of Poland's most important railway terminals
Gdańsk Main Station, one of Poland's most important railway terminals
A Polish locomotive takes over haulage duty from a Deutsche Bahn unit at Rzepin on a Berlin-Warsaw Express train
A Polish locomotive takes over haulage duty from a Deutsche Bahn unit at Rzepin on a Berlin-Warsaw Express train

Poland is served by an extensive network of railways. In most cities the main railway station is located near a city centre and is well connected to the local transportation system. The infrastructure is operated by PKP Group. The rail network is very dense in western and northern Poland, while eastern part of the country is less developed. The capital city, Warsaw, has the country's only rapid transit system: the Warsaw Metro.

The only high-speed rail line (though by most definitions, real high-speed rail only includes speeds over 200 km/h) in central-eastern Europe is the Central Rail Line (Poland), Centralna Magistrala Kolejowa (CMK). It has a length of 223 km (139 mi), and was built in 1971–1977; it links Warsaw with Kraków and Katowice. Most trains on the CMK operate at speeds up to 160 km/h (99 mph), but since December 2014 new Alstom Pendolino ED250 trains operate on a 90 km section of the CMK at 200 km/h (124 mph), and improvements under way should raise the authorized speed to 200 km/h (124 mph) on most of the line. In test runs on the CMK in November 2013 a new Pendolino ED250 train set a new Polish speed record of 293 km/h (182 mph).[1]

Other high-speed lines:

  • The Warsaw-Gdańsk-Gdynia railway route is undergoing a major upgrading costing $3 billion, partly funded by the European Investment Bank, including track replacement, realignment of curves and relocation of sections of track to allow speeds up to 200 km/h (124 mph), modernization of stations, and installation of the most modern ETCS signalling system, which is to be completed in June 2015. In December 2014 new Alstom Pendolino ED250 high-speed trains were put into service between Gdańsk, Warsaw, Katowice and Kraków reducing the rail travel time from Gdańsk to Warsaw to 2 hours 58 minutes,[2][3] to be reduced in late 2015 to 2 hours 37 minutes.[4]
  • Warsaw–KutnoPoznań–(Berlin) (160 km/h)
  • Warsaw–SiedlceTerespol–(Minsk) (160, 120 km/h) – being upgraded to 160 km/h
  • Warsaw–PuławyLublin (120, 140 km/h)
  • OpoleWrocław (160 km/h) and further upgraded via Legnica to Berlin and Hamburg

Projects The Warsaw–Łódź line is being upgraded to allow speed up to 160 km/h (in order to bind together the Warsaw–Łódź agglomeration).

Plans were made to construct a new high-speed line (350 km/h) from Warsaw to Poznań and Wrocław with forks in Łódź and Kalisz.,[5] but the project was cancelled in November 2011 due to its high cost.[6]

The PKP Group is the fourth largest railway throughout Europe. Trains are run by its different subsidiaries.

Passenger transport operators

The following companies operate in Poland:

Narrow-gauge railways

There are hundreds of kilometres of 600 mm (1 ft 11 58 in), 750 mm (2 ft 5 12 in), 785 mm (2 ft 6 2932 in), and 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) narrow-gauge lines in Poland. These railways are mostly in decline, some survive as a museum or tourist railways.

Freight transport market

Broad-gauge railways

LHS links southern Poland with broad-gauge railways in Ukraine and other eastern countries
LHS links southern Poland with broad-gauge railways in Ukraine and other eastern countries

Except for Linia Hutnicza Szerokotorowa, and a few very short stretches near border crossings, Poland uses the standard gauge for its railways. Therefore, Linia Hutnicza Szerokotorowa (known by its acronym LHS, English: Broad-gauge steelworks line) in Sławków is the longest broad-gauge railway line in Poland. The line runs on a single track for almost 400 km (250 mi) from the Polish-Ukrainian border, crossing it just east of Hrubieszów. It is the westernmost broad-gauge railway line in Europe that is connected to the broad-gauge rail system of the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Rail system

Total: 23,420 km (14,550 mi)

  • standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) : 21,639 km (13,450 mi) (11,626 km (7,220 mi) electrified; 8,978 km (5,580 mi) double track)
  • broad gauge 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 2732 in) : 646 km (401 mi)
  • narrow gauge (various) : 1,135 km (710 mi) various gauges including 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in), 785 mm (2 ft 6 2932 in), 750 mm (2 ft 5 12 in), and 600 mm (1 ft 11 58 in) (1998)

As of December 2002 narrow-gauge railways were no longer owned or operated by PKP. They were transferred to regional authorities or became independent companies.

Rail links with adjacent countries

Road transport

Polish motorway and expressway network. Legend of sections: .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  completed   under construction   planned
Polish motorway and expressway network. Legend of sections:
  under construction
Map of planned motorway and expressway network in Poland.
Map of planned motorway and expressway network in Poland.
A2 near Poznań, opened in 2003
A2 near Poznań, opened in 2003
Semi-trailer truck average daily traffic in 2015
Semi-trailer truck average daily traffic in 2015

Polish public roads are grouped into categories related to administrative division. Poland has 412,264 km (256,170 mi) of public roads, of which 131,863 km (81,940 mi) are unsurfaced (2011):[7]

  • National roads (Technical classes A, S, GP and exceptionally G): 18,801 km (11,680 mi), 1.9 km (1 mi) unsurfaced
  • Voivodeship roads (Classes G, Z and exceptionally GP): 28,476 km (17,690 mi), 63.2 km (39 mi) unsurfaced
  • Powiat roads (Classes G, Z and exceptionally L): 127,743 km (79,380 mi), 11,379 km (7,070 mi) unsurfaced
  • Gmina roads (Classes L, D and exceptionally Z): 237,244 km (147,420 mi), 120,419 km (74,820 mi) unsurfaced

In recent years, the network has been improving and government spending on road construction recently saw a huge increase, due to rapid development of the country and the inflow of European Union funds for infrastructure projects.[8]

Motorways and expressways

Polish motorways and expressways are part of national roads network. As of December 2018, there are 1,638 kilometres (1,020 mi) of motorways (autostrady, singular - autostrada) and 2,092 km (1,300 mi) of expressways (drogi ekspresowe, singular - droga ekspresowa).[9]

Znak D9.svg Motorways in Poland, 1,638 km (1,020 mi) (2018):
A1 | A2 | A4 | A6 | A8 | A18

Znak D7.svg Expressways in Poland, 2,092 km (1,300 mi) (2018):
S1 | S2 | S3 | S5 | S6 | S7 | S8 | S10 | S11 | S12 | S14 | S16 | S17 | S19 | S22 | S51 | S52 | S61 | S74 | S79 | S86

Air transport

Location of main airports in Poland, with number of passengers served in 2016
Location of main airports in Poland, with number of passengers served in 2016
Terminal 2 of the Warsaw Chopin Airport
Terminal 2 of the Warsaw Chopin Airport
Copernicus Airport Wrocław - interior of the terminal T2
Copernicus Airport Wrocław - interior of the terminal T2

The most important airport in Poland is Warsaw 'Frederic Chopin' International Airport. Warsaw's airport is the main international hub for LOT Polish Airlines.

In addition to Warsaw Chopin, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Katowice, Kraków and Poznań all have international airports.

In preparation for the Euro 2012 football championships jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine, a number of airports around the country were renovated and redeveloped. This included the building of new terminals with an increased number of jetways and stands at both Copernicus Airport in Wrocław and Lech Wałęsa Airport in Gdańsk.


The Polish airline market was until 2004 a closed market, with bilateral agreements between countries served from the national hub – Warsaw. The regional airports were mostly serving as spokes, and were controlled by PPL, the state-owned airport authority. However, in the 1990s it was decided to deregulate the airport market and abolish the dominant position of PPL. Nearly all local airports (apart from Zielona Góra airport) became separate companies, with local governments involved in their management, which led to the partial decentralisation. Soon after opening of Polish sky for competition, flights "avoiding" the Warsaw hub became more common.

There are twelve passenger airports in operation, and there is also an airport Heringsdorf in German village Garz, 7 kilometers from Polish seaside spa Świnoujście.

International airports

List of airports in Poland The following are the largest airports in Poland (In descending order for 2013):


Airports with paved runways: Total: 84 (2005)

  • over 3,047 m: 4
  • 2,438 to 3,047 m: 29
  • 1,524 to 2,437 m: 41
  • 914 to 1,523 m: 7
  • under 914 m: 3

Airports – with unpaved runways: Total: 39 (2005)

  • 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
  • 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
  • 914 to 1,523 m: 13
  • under 914 m: 21

Heliports: 2 (2005)

Water transport

Ferries of Polish company Unity Line in the city of Szczecin
Ferries of Polish company Unity Line in the city of Szczecin
Gdynia's main municipal marina
Gdynia's main municipal marina

The country's most important waterway is the river Vistula. The largest seaports are the Port of Szczecin and Port of Gdańsk.

Marine transport in Poland has two main sub-groups, riverine and seaborne. On the Baltic Sea coast, a number of large seaports exist to serve the international freight and passenger trade; these are typically deep water ports and are able to serve very large ships, including the ro-ro ferries of Unity Line, Polferries and Stena Line which operate the PolandScandinavia passenger lines.

Riverine services operate on almost all major Polish rivers and canals (such as the Danube–Oder and Elbląg canals) as well as on domestic coastal routes.


Poland has 3,997 km (2,480 mi) of navigable rivers and canals (as of 2009).

Ports and harbors

Merchant marine

Total: 57 ships (1,000 GT or over) totaling 1,120,165 GT/1,799,569 tonnes deadweight (DWT)

Ships by type: bulk 50, cargo 2, chemical tanker 2, roll-on/roll-off 1, short-sea passenger 2 (1999 est.)

Municipal transport

City bus in Warsaw, manufactured by Polish company Solaris
City bus in Warsaw, manufactured by Polish company Solaris


Most Polish towns and cities have well developed municipal bus services. Typically, a city possesses its own local bus service, however, in some cases they have private competitors operating on certain lines upon the agreement with local authorities.

Until the 1990s, interurban connections were operated by a single, state-owned company PKS. Since then, it has been broken into a number of independent national and municipal enterprises. In addition, several private operators emerged. There are two classes of service distinguished by vehicle length:

  • autobus — longer vehicles (12.0 m and more),
  • bus — shorter vehicles with smaller capacity, very popular on local connections, run by individual persons and smaller companies.

While they often use the same bus stops, they tend to use different stations.


Bigger cities run dense tram networks, which are the primary mean of public transport. Currently, there are 14 systems serving over 30 cities including Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Katowice, Kraków, Łódź, Poznań, Szczecin, Warsaw and Wrocław, with the total track length varying from 200 km (120 mi) (Silesian Interurbans) to less than 10 km (6 mi) (Tramways in Grudziądz). A new network has been constructed in Olsztyn in 2015. See the list of town tramway systems in Poland

Since the 1990s, a number of cities attempts to upgrade certain parts of their networks to the light rail standard (called szybkie tramwaje, En. fast trams). The most notable investments are Poznań Fast Tram and Kraków Fast Tram with the underground 1.5 km (0.9 mi) premetro section.[10]


Znak D-16.svg Trolleybuses can be found in three cities: Gdynia (with some lines reaching Sopot), Lublin and Tychy.

Rapid transit

The first metro line was opened in Warsaw in 1995. Part of the second line was opened in 2015. This is part of the country's rail transport infrastructure. There are no official plans to build metro in other cities due to the lack of funds, but there is an ongoing debate whether they should be built, especially in Kraków.


  • Crude oil and petroleum products 2,280 km (1,420 mi)
  • Natural gas 13,500 km (8,390 mi)

(2006 est.)

See also


  1. ^ 'Bariera 300 km/h nie padła. Na koniec testów 293 km/h,' Rynek Kolejowy, 2013 11 24,
  2. ^ 'Polish Pendolino launches 200 km/h operation,' Railway Gazette International, 15 December 2014,
  3. ^ 'Pendolino z Trójmiasta do Warszawy,'
  4. ^ ';Jeszcze szybciej z Warszawy do Gdańska,' Kurier Kolejowy 9 01 2015
  5. ^ In brief: High Speed Rail will invade Poland by 2020 Archived 1 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Transport Expertise Association, Matthieu Desiderio, 11 June 2008.
  6. ^ 'Polish High Sped Rail Project Cancelled,' Railway Gazette International, 8 December 2011,
  7. ^ Transport - activity results in 2011 Główny Urząd Statystyczny
  8. ^ Adisa Banjanovic, Improving Poland's transport infrastructure
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Trams in Poland". Poland Travel Planner. Retrieved 10 April 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 16 March 2021, at 15:27
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