Polish long-distance train operator PKP has announced it will expand its current WiFi service to cover its entire fleet. The move is part of a huge 27 billion Zloty (US$6.79 billion) investment programme to cover expansion and modernisation of its services by 2030.
PKP says that the money will help it double the number of train services it runs within Poland. It also plans to boost the number of trains it operates on the international routes which run from Warsaw to the west, south and east. In total, the operator says it expects to swell the number of passengers travelling on its trains to over 88 million in eight years’ time. In 2019, in pre-covid times, this figure stood at 26.6 million.
The planned investment of US$6.14 billion in its fleet will fund an increase of 11% in the number of locomotives and an 18% rise in the number of coaches it operates. A further US$650 million will be spent on new depot facilities. Meanwhile, the new money will also fund a 47% increase it the size of its EMU fleet, as well as adding the hybrid multiple units and push-pull trains, of which it currently has none. PKP Intercity says it will offer air-conditioning, power sockets, catering, free WiFi and a multi-media platform as standard in all trains.
The operator has been rolling out WiFi in a piecemeal fashion since early on-board trials in 2012. Three years ago, it officially launched WiFi on board ten of its Pendolino ED250 high-speed trains, its Express InterCity Premium fleet. By November 2019, it reported that a further 10 ED250s had been kitted out for WiFi. The equipment installation was undertaken by Konstal, Alstom’s subsidiary in Poland.
By 2020 PKP Intercity was offering WiFi connections in 206 passenger coaches and 41 electric multiple units, including 20 Pesa Dart and 20 Stadler Flirts. The company says that it intends to cover 80% of its rolling stock with wireless connections by 2023 and 100% in the following years.
PKP Intercity’s passenger fleet currently consists of 74 electric multiple units and around 1490 coaches. Over the next few years, it will add a further 926 coaches and modernise its entire current stock. In addition, it says it will purchase 38 seven-car push-pull trains. The company says it will also move to simplify its ticketing operations - introducing a modern ticket sales system, loyalty programme, mobile app and remote sales channels.
Track-side connectivity and on-board WiFi provision will be the main subjects of this year’s Traincomms Conference.
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