The previous edition of the debate ‘RAIL 2020 – Green or red light?’ was held on 25 September 2013 during the 10th Rail Fair Trako 2013.

Nearly 60 people attended the first conference which was historical for us. We were the only non-governmental organisation that organised such a meeting at the fair.

Gerhard Troche, PhD, expert of the European Commission, a special guest at our conference, discussed the outline of the European transportation policy, the rules for the construction of transportation corridors and directions for the development of rail in Europe. The second speaker, minister Andrzej Massel, presented the strategy for the development of rail in Poland by 2020.

Andrzej Massel talked, among others, about the need for increase in the effectiveness of the rail sector in Poland, changes in the process of rail management and development of a coherent infrastructure – coherent, that is one that takes into account interest of all users of rail and road transportation but that also blurs the differences within rail transportation itself. In his opinion one of the main tasks is focusing on passenger needs, increasing access to transportation services and information about those services. One of the key tasks of the state will be to use all financing options in order to improve parameters of rail lines, including cargo lines.

Andrzej Massel announced as well an increase in outlays from the European funds for the development of rail in eastern regions of Poland. Those regions will obtain the majority of funds allocated not only for modernisation but also for development of new rail lines.

Despite being invited, no representative of PKP SA took part in the conference ‘RAIL 2020: GREEN OR RED LIGHT?’ That is unfortunate as given the fact that many interested papers were presented, a standpoint of the largest entity on the Polish rail market could have been presented, in particular in light of a further panel discussion devoted to the main problems of rail transportation.

President of DB Schenker Rail Polska, Christian Schreyer, in his most interesting presentation tackled the aspects of unused chances of the Polish rail transportation. A list of advantages of rail over road transportation is long, from safety to social and economic costs as well as ecology. President of DB Schenker Rail Polska called for cooperation in building a positive image of Polish rail, perceiving it as one of the main mechanisms of development and a chance for passenger and rail clients come-back.

President of PRO KOLEJ Foundation, Jacek Prześluga, presented an assessment of the perspectives of the passenger market until 2020 – in his opinion the main problem is the situation on the regional transport market. He also talked a lot about insufficient market offer for passengers and a destructive role of public financing of rail, which makes carriers – as he put it – fat cats, unable to react to market events in any way. Foundation president put forward organisation of specific actions of carriers devoted to the creation of the so-called joint ticket and a joint system of ticket sale. A meeting to discuss this issue has been planned already for October. Our call regarding the matter is published here.

The following people took part in the panel discussion: Gerhard Troche, PhD, Andrzej Pawłowski – member of the management board of PKP PLK SA, Marcin Polewicz – member of the management board of Arriva RP, Wojciech Jurkiewicz – member of the management board of Freightliner PL and Michał Litwin from the Railway Employers’ Union. Discussed were, among others, rail transportation security, including training of train operators, future of rail transportation, development of rail network in Poland and difficulty in complying with the principle of competition and equal access on the Polish market.

The discussion was summarised by the secretary of PRO KOLEJ Foundation Board, Andrzej Goltz, who reminded the history and achievements of similar organisations in Europe, in particular on the market of carriers in Great Britain and Germany. Such organisations are not market participants – they ensure the essential know-how, convey information about the best European practices, and carry out educational and promotional campaigns whose aim is to bring rail closer to clients.