The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to grant a €268m loan in support of modernisation of the existing 58km-long electric railway line (E30) from Katowice to Kraków in Poland.

The funding has been awarded to the Polish national railway network manager, PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe (PLK).

As part of the upgrade programme, the funding will be used for improvements, such as the replacement of ballast, sleepers, track and overhead catenary.

"The funding has been awarded to the Polish national railway network manager, PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe."

Other upgrades include the reconstruction of several stations to ensure complete accessibility for people with reduced mobility, as well as introduce new passenger and freight trains that can run at a maximum speed of 160km/h and 120km/h respectively.

The enhancements will reduce existing negative impacts during operation, better quality rail services, as well as reduce vehicle operating costs, journey times and the potential level of harmful emissions.

Modernisation work will begin immediately and is likely to end by 2016.

The EIB has provided ten loans to PLK totalling €1.9bn to finance railway modernisation projects across Poland and also provides long-term financial resources available at a lower funding cost.

Financing by EIB to Poland amounted to €5.7bn in 2013, of which 18% was earmarked for rail and urban transport projects.

Additional support offered by the bank includes the improvement of both infrastructure with PLK and rolling stock with the operating companies.