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Poland to revive another broad gauge railway

PKP LHS, the rail freight operator and infrastructure manager of the Hrubieszów – Sławków broad gauge railway, is planning to revive another extraordinary line in Poland. It is the Dorohusk – Zawadówka line, which is situated close to the Ukrainian border and has a gauge of 1,520 millimetres. To maintain and develop this route, the Polish company will incorporate a dedicated subsidiary.
The revitalisation of the Dorohusk – Zawadówka broad gauge railway is getting closer towards reality. On Wednesday, 16 June, the Management Board of PKP S.A., the Polish state-owned railway holding, has permitted its subsidiary PKP LHS to take control over the mentioned line. To this end, PKP LHS, which operates the 395-kilometre-ling broad gauge railway from Hrubieszów to Sławków, will establish a dedicated wholly-owned company. It will be named PKP Linia Chełmska Szerokotorowa (PKP Chełm Broad Gauge Line from Polish) or simply PKP LCHS. The new company will be based in the city of Chełm.

PKP LCHS will be a railway operator and infrastructure manager simultaneously like PKP LHS on the Hrubieszów – Sławków line. “We have proven that the formula of the integrated operator and infrastructure manager under which PKP LHS works is beneficial for shippers, economic development as well as the state because we implement all investments from our own resources”, Zbigniew Tracichleb, President of the Management Board of PKP LHS, added.

Map of Dorohusk - Zawadówka broad gauge railway
Map of Dorohusk – Zawadówka broad gauge railway, source: OpenRailwayMap

New opportunities

With the incorporation of the new subsidiary, PKP LHS will be able to develop the line and attract more freight volumes on it. At the same time, the rail freight operator will receive a good opportunity to optimise its services by using two crossings at the border with Ukraine, in Hrubieszów and Dorohusk. “Both lines have a similar technical and transport profile, that is why we want to use our previous experience to meet the challenges of the new company related to the acquisition of new customers, renovation of infrastructure and working organisation”, Zbigniew Tracichleb noted.

Line 63

According to the Polish classification, the Dorohusk – Chełm – Zawadówka railway is known as Line 63. It was constructed in 1958 for military supply operations. With its help, the Soviet Union transported fuel for its troops deployed in Poland. In order to simplify operations and avoid transhipment, the line was built as a broad gauge route. It has a total length of around 30.5 kilometres. The railway is single-track and non-electrified. Most of its route runs parallel to the double-track electrified standard gauge railway (1,435 millimetres).

It is worth to note that Line 63 is almost not being used for cross-border freight traffic between Ukraine and Poland. However, there were some developments in terms of passenger connections. In June 2017 Ukrainian Railway (UZ) launched a diesel train from Kovel to Chełm. Eventually, this link was extended to Zdolbuniv, another important railway junction in Western Ukraine. Nevertheless, this measure failed to keep the trains running on the cross-border route. In June 2019 this connection between Ukraine and Poland was cancelled due to low occupancy.

RailFreight Summit Poznan

PKP LHS will deliver a presentation about its plans and opportunities at the RailFreight Summit Poland, which takes place in the Polish city of Poznań on 1, 2 and 3 September. Are you interested in this event? Visit the website or register here.

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