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The European Investment Bank (EIB) will increase its loan to Polish rail operator PKP INTERCITY from the €224m originally agreed in July 2011 to €342m to buy a fleet of 20 Pendolino electrical multiple units (emus).

The increased loan will now cover more than half of the €665m order placed by PKP with Alstom in June 2011 for the new high-speed trains, as well as the construction of an associated maintenance depot in Warsaw.

PKP will get the remaining funds from the European Union’s Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment to buy the trains, which will be capable of operating at a top speed of about 250km/hr.

The new trains will be run on existing routes in Poland, Warsaw-Gdansk-Gdynia, Warsaw-Krakow and Warsaw-Katowice, which are a part of a Trans-European Transport Networks project that links Gdansk, Warszawa, Brno / Bratislava and Vienna.

The trains, which will be able to accommodate up to 402 passengers, will also be used on services from Warsaw to Gliwice via Katowice, Wroclaw via Opolde and Rzeszow via Tarnow.

The new trains will comply with European standards for passenger safety, noise emissions and access for persons with reduced mobility.

Deliveries are scheduled to commence from next year, while the trains are expected to enter service from December 2014

Each seven-car non-tilting train will be equipped with ERTMS along with Polish, Czech, Austrian and German signalling systems, which will allow them to operate under 15kV ac, 25kV ac electrification as well as the standard Polish 3kV dc system.

According to PKP, the new trains are expected to provide passengers with a new level of comfort, better functionality and safety standards, as well as reduce the travel time.

Alstom will maintain and service the new trains for a period of at least 17 years at a new maintenance depot at Warsaw Grochow.

The loan for PKP complements other EIB loans financing investment in Polish rail infrastructure, including the modernisation of the E65 line from Warsaw to Gdynia, on which the new trains are to be operated.

Image: PKP will start operating the new Alstom Pendolino high-speed trains from December 2014. Photo: Courtesy of European Investment Bank.