40-year-olds on railway tracks


In 10 years over 1700 passenger wagons, 245 locomotives and almost 900 EMUs will be 40 or more years old. Taking into account growing popularity of railway travels and rising operational performance of railways this means the necessity of modernisation or purchase of new railway vehicles in a similar or larger number.

An appropriate kind of rolling stock plays a substantial role in creation of fast, safe and sustainable railway transport. In the coming years one should expect a 43-percent rise in the operational performance of railways. Adding to this openness to competition, international integration leading to the rise in international or cross-border connections, as well as growing activity of local selfgovernments, which recreate traffic on local railway lines, all this should lead to a rising demand for rolling stock investments.

At the end of 2018 passenger carriers had at their disposal 314 electric and 109 diesel locomotives. There remained in their inventory 2047 wagons with seats, 195 sleeping and couchette wagons, 1247 EMUs (electric multi-unit sets) and 269 DMUs (diesel multi-unit sets). More than 80 % of diesel locomotives reached their 40th year in 2018. Only 5 % of electric locomotives were 40 or more years old. However, in 5 years - in 2025 - more than 77% of such locomotives will turn 40 or more.

The same situation concerns wagons. In 2018 40-year-old ones amounted to a little over 1 %, but in 5 years it will be around 37 % and in 10 years - more than 80 %. In case of EMUs almost 30 % of them are of at least a 40-year-age. In 5 years the number will rise to more than 50 %.

- The above-mentioned numbers show what an enormous size of rolling stock investment is necessary in the coming 10 years - judges Mr. Ignacy Góra, Sc. D., President of the Office of Rail Transport. - Locomotives, wagons and multi-unit sets, which will turn 40, should be replaced with new ones, as their modernisation and adjustment to new safety and travel comfort requirements may not be economically viable - he adds.

In 2018 only 5 carriers had at their disposal rolling stock of an age of less than 30 years. Those were: Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa, Szybka Kolej Miejska w Warszawie, Koleje Małopolskie, Łódzka Kolej Aglomeracyjna and Usedomer Bäderbahn. A small number of slightly older stock has remained in possession of Arriva RP, Koleje Dolnośląskie, Koleje Wielkopolskie and Koleje Śląskie.

When it comes to long-distance transfers almost 68 % of trains are conducted by electric locomotives, more than 30% by EMUs, and only almost 1 % by diesel locomotives. In regional and agglomeration transfers most of the them are executed by EMUs - 71 % and DMUs - 12 %.

Detailed information on the subject can be found in this presentation (Polish version only).

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