The European Commission (EC) has approved €604m in funding from the European Union Cohesion Fund for upgrading railway network in Poland.

The first grant will provide over €487m to modernise the country’s railway communication system.

It will establish a modern communication system by replacing the old technology across nearly 14,000km of railway line.

The project will allow Poland to introduce the European rail traffic management system, which will integrate the country’s rail lines with the European railway network.

The project, which is expected to be operational from July 2023, will improve passenger safety and reduce travel time.

Under the second grant, the EC will contribute over €117m to upgrade and electrify 46km of railway lines, building or refurbishing stations, platforms, viaducts and bridges in northern Silesia.

The project is due to be completed in May 2022 and will provide a direct link between the regional capital Katowice and Pyrzowice airport, where a new station will be constructed.

The project will boost local economic development and enhance the efficiency of freight transport and ensure reliable connections for passengers.

In addition to the two rail projects, the EC is contributing €72m for a road project to ease traffic congestion in Warmińsko-Mazurskie.

Poland, which joined the EU in 2004, is claimed to be the biggest beneficiary of Cohesion Policy funds. The Cohesion Policy has financed 12,200km of new or upgraded road, provided access to broadband for 9.1 million people, and created 151,000 jobs.

In the next long-term EU budget, the EC is proposing to invest more than €72bn to support the transformation of the Polish economy.