The analysis of PKP PLK S.A. infrastructure access pricelist for 2017, effective as of 29 July, developed by ‘Pro Kolej’ Foundation, shows that passenger and freight carriers will pay more yet again.
Following review of available figures, it is difficult to confirm the general information about decrease in the rail infrastructure access cost at the level of -4.7%. The change, averaged for both transportation types, all line categories and weight bands, stands at less than -2%, and in the case of passenger services the cost has been increased (+0.5%). Detailed values for passenger trains range from -6.6% for category 1 electrified lines (M<60t) to +37% for category 4 non-electrified lines (M<60t). For freight services, the values range from -6.6% (cat. 1, M<60t) to -0.8% (cat. 2, 360≤M<420).
Significant deviation of upward trends lead to improvement of average values, but not necessarily where it is useful, due to, for example, the fact that some changes have no practical meaning. Rates decrease in the categories with minimum traffic load (for example for a freight train weighing 60 tonnes – which is impossible to be coupled together as it would weigh less than its own engine). Moreover, the declared decrease in prices ignores the increases of costs of access to platforms and passenger information. Average increases in this area stand at nearly 5% – ranging in the case of platform infrastructure from +7.7% to +12.5% and from -13.6% to +21.8% for passenger information.
As a result, the prices envisaged for next year are higher as compared with the rates for which Poland has already been sued and lost the case before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The increase in prices as compared with 2013 at the average level of 1.5% results from an increase in the prices for passenger services by 5% and a symbolic decrease by 0.5% for freight services. Hence the paradox: despite 20-percent decreases in rates in 2014, prices are going to be higher than before.
However, the most burdensome aspect affecting the situation following the introduction of new rates are changes into rail line categories. The upgrade affects 89 sections of the total length of 1,193 km for passenger services, and the downgrade – 70 fragments of network of the total length of 872 km. As a result of this operation, cheaper sections include, among others, Jaźwiny – Pilawa, Poważe – Łuków, Olecko – Gołdap, Lewki – Hajnówka, Włoszczowice – Busko Zdrój, Furmany – Olendry, Bąkowiec – Puławy Azoty, Grębów – Olendry, Baborów – Głubczyce, Nowa Wieś Wielka – Bydgoszcz Wschód, Wisła Most – Gdańsk Port Północny, Gdańsk Główny – Gdańsk Brzeźno, Żagań – Bieniów, Bieniów – Lubsko, Września – Gniezno, Komprachcice – Szydłów, Gołańcz – Kcynia, Wędrzyn – Rzepin, Międzyrzecz – Nietoperek, Kalisz Pomorski – Drawno, Człuchów – Przechlewo, Trzciniec Zgorzelecki – Turoszów, where no passenger services are available. Some of them are also not used for freight services and are impassable.
Reverse is the situation on the lines where the category is upgraded. They mainly include sections located in the centres of urban agglomerations, characterised by very intensive traffic, such as Warszawa Centralna – Warszawa Wschodnia, Warszawa Włochy – Józefinów – Grodzisk Maz., Warszawa Antoninów – Warszawa Rembertów, Miedniewice – Skierniewice, Gdańsk Rębiechowo – Gdańsk Osowa, Pruszcz Gd. – Motława Most, Poznań Gł. – Poznań Górczyn, Szamotuły – Krzyż, Łódź Chojny – Łódź Widzew – Zgierz, Toruń Gł. – Bydgoszcz Gł., Głogów Młp. – Rzeszów Gł., Rzeszów Staroniwa – Jasło, Kraków Płaszów – Kraków Bieżanów – Wieliczka Rynek, Kraków Mydlniki – Kraków Balice, Częstochowa – Częstochowa Stradom, Fosowskie – Opole Gł.
In the case of freight services, downgrading the category applies to 74 sections (1,015 km) and results in reduction of prices on the lines with marginal significance or introduction of ‘category 0’ – that is infrastructure exclusion from traffic. The increases affect 74 sections, with the total length of 1,152 km located chiefly in main traffic routes, above all, in Silesia and in the area of Tricity ports (Gdańsk Rębiechowo-Gdańsk Osowa, Węgliniec - Bielawa Dolna, Małaszewicze – Terespol, Działdowo – Iława Gł., Malbork – Szymankowo, Włocławek Brzezie – Toruń Gł. – Bydgoszcz Gł., Kozłów – Starzyny – Koniecpol, Podłęże – Tarnów, Gliwice Łabędy – Pyskowice, Pszczółki – Pruszcz Gd., Iława Gł. - Olsztyn Gł., Kostrzyn – Dolna Odra).
In conclusion, prices drop where no services are available and rise in the most loaded fragments of rail network in Poland.