HSR is a mean of public transit offering quality service not available to other means of land transport. Safety and reliability of HSR, excelling all other means of transport, allow creation of reliable and timely intercity links.
Prior experience of the EU-15 countries demonstrates that good functioning of national economies is not possible without efficient inter-regional Rail Transport (RT). The European Union is presently the place where national railways are more and more integrated, consistently converted into elements of the Trans European RLT System. Rail transport is among the weaknesses of Poland’s economy. The distance for Polish railways to catch up is estimated at 30 years. This is a strong barrier in development of society and economy on both national and regional levels. The demand for high quality rail transport in Poland is sufficiently high (to justify investments). As per governmental projections concerning construction and launching of HSR, by the year 2030 the volume of railway transport can increase nearly five-fold.
Building of highly competitive Trans-European RT system means for carriers from individual Member States the need to improve both the quality and competitiveness of their transport services. For over 20 years the process has been determined by consecutive decisions of the EU with regard to the network (TEN-T) concept, revised to a great extent following the EU expansion in years 2004 (UE 25) and 2007 (UE 27). Over two-fold increase (from 14 to 30) was observed then in the number of transport-related projects.
The financial preferences of the EU for RLT under the TEN-T project are estimated at ca. 25%, among others based on appropriation of TEN-T Funds for 2013, amounting to EUR 280 Mio., out of which EUR 70 Mio. was appropriated to RLT (second place by amount of outlays), in particular to projects under European Rail Transport Management System (ERTMS). Poland approved those proposals, after series of negotiations, as all key communication links - road, railway and air links - have been considered the components of TEN-T. Premises for Poland’s transport policy resulting from the above are clear.
Authors would like to stress that the HSR system in Poland, thanks to application of state-of-the-art technology and maintaining strictest environmental standards, should make HSR the symbol of modern passenger railway in Poland. It would give successful improvement of rail transport image and making it attractive among the public, which is extremely important for supply of new people to work for RT, RLT and HSR and for the acceptance of RT development program by the public.
Moreover, new transport strategy and policy in Poland should be implemented in close coordination with energy policy. Increase in the share of rail transport in passenger and freight operations and preferences for electric traction shall require significant changes in power supply systems, both substations DC 3 kV – to increase the speed on main railway lines, and substations AC 2×25 kV/50 Hz – projected for new applications in RT (including HSR). In both cases increase in the power rating shall be required, by way of complete overhaul of the power supply system for DC 3 kV and introducing completely new solutions for AC 2×25 kV/50 Hz. This requires expansion of MV and HV power supply and distribution grids and traction substations, development of mass manufacture of electric devices and appliances, and equipment for RT, studies, research and implementations of energy saving solutions, container control systems and traction drives, allowing energy recuperation, etc.