Poland moves ahead with its longest rail tunnel

Poland is set to build its longest single transport tunnel ever, with a rail tunnel spanning nearly 3.8km (2.4 miles) across part of the Western Beskids mountains in the southern region of the country.

Photo: Adobe Stock

Currently, the country’s longest tunnel is the 2.34km-long Expressway S2 Tunnel in Warsaw, also known as the Ursynów Tunnel.

The new project forms part of an initiative to modernise the railway section between Nowy Sącz and the village of Chabówka in the southern province of Małopolska.

The Polish railway infrastructure management company, PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe, recently signed a PLN1.9 billion (US$480 million) contract to lead the project.

A consortium of Polish contractor Budimex and Turkish rail and infrastructure specialist Gülermak Heavy Industry Construction and Contracting will oversee the tunnel’s construction.

Much-needed modernisation

Construction work is slated for completion in 2026, with the new rail line expected to cut travel times between Kraków and Nowy Sącz from three hours to just one hour. Trains are expected to travel through the tunnel at speeds of up to 160kmh (99mph).

In a statement, Poland’s deputy infrastructure minister, Piotr Malepszak, said the modernisation programme, which is due to be completed in 2026, was long overdue, with most of the rail infrastructure built almost 150 years ago.

Funding for this project, along with the broader railway infrastructure improvements, is expected to come from the National Reconstruction Plan (KPO), part of the EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund.


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