POLISH State Railways is due to sign a contract with Fiat Ferroviaria this month for the supply of 16 tilting trainsets at a cost of 380bn lire. Fiat was selected as preferred bidder at the end of July, ahead of shortlisted proposals from Siemens and Adtranz, which lodged a protest in August that its bid was 20% cheaper.

PKP’s tender covers nine trains with an option for seven. The first of the six-car Pendolino derivatives, which will be built in conjunction with local manufacturers, is due for delivery by the end of 2000.

PKP envisages operating tilting services every 2 h on its three premier inter-city routes. Two sets will run on the Warszawa - Gdynia corridor, cutting journey times from 3 h 25 min to 2 h 44 min. Another four will operate to Katowice and Kraków, saving around 2 1??2 h. o