Development of a sustainable, integrated HSR network in CEE


All over the world, governments and local authorities are investing in public transport to increase people’s mobility, reduce road transport’s negative impact on the environment, and create a greener world. Therefore significant infrastructure investments are currently underway in Central and Eastern Europe - ground-breaking projects that will not only strengthen the region in the EU arena but also ensure its sustainable and fast economic growth, while significantly improving the safety of Europe as a whole. A crucial role in transforming existing infrastructure into a sustainable transport network is played by railway transport, particularly high-speed railways.

The development of high-speed railways have been put by the European Commission at the centre of EU transport policy. Tapping into this momentum EU countries of the Three Seas Initiative are developing their respective HSR networks. Projects such as Centralny Port Komunikacyjny (CPK) in Poland and Rail Baltica and V4 HSR will contribute to fulfilling EU TEN-T policy and Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy goals. Reconstruction and modernization of railway lines, including the introduction of the HSR system, is also an important part of Ukrainian plans for post-war recovery. These infrastructure mega-projects can together build a dense and interoperable HSR network in the region, filling missing cross-border connections in Central and Eastern Europe and building the future of European mobility. Thanks to the Centralny Port Komunikacyjny (CPK), the largest infrastructure project currently underway in Europe, Baltic countries will be connected with V4 countries through the Polish high-speed railway network.

While the Rail Baltica project consists of 870 km of new railway connection between the capitals of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia the CPK is building almost 2,000 km of new railway lines majority of which are in HSR standard, enabling the integration of air, road and rail transport.

The plans for the construction of HSR in the Three Seas countries coincide with the EU’s transport priorities, as the vast majority of the planned high-speed railway lines have been accepted by the EC as part of the TEN-T network, and European Transport Corridors as part of the ongoing revision of the regulation of the guidelines for the development of the TEN-T. In the opinion of the European Commission, the key investments of CPK should constitute priorities of the EU investment policy and their implementation should become Poland’s contribution to the European transport system.

Key topics related to the development of an integrated transport network in the CEE region will be discussed at the international conference Railway Direction Days 2023 (RDD 2023), which will take place in Warsaw, Poland on 18 and 19 January 2023. The conference will highlight the benefits of transforming the transport infrastructure in the Three Seas region into a modern, sustainable, resilient and fully integrated system through the development of HSR.

Author: Maciej Kaczanowski