A consortium led by Spanish engineering giant Ingenieria IDOM has won a tender to pave the way for Poland's first-ever high-speed train lines, Polish state rail firm PKP said Thursday.
PKP said in a statement the consortium would be tasked with drawing up a feasibility study for a total 450-kilometre (280-mile) Y-shaped link between the capital Warsaw, the central city of Lodz, Poznan in the west and Wroclaw in the southwest.
The estimated cost of the study is 49 million zloty (12.7 million euros, 17.3 million dollars).
Rail travel is notoriously sluggish in Poland, and laying new lines capable of handling trains travelling at 350 kilometres per hour (217 miles an hour) could in theory slash journey times by more than half.
Poland's government announced the rail plan in 2008, with the goal of having the service up and running by 2020.
The total cost has been estimated at 26 billion zloty (6.75 billion euros, 9.17 billion dollars).
Years of underinvestment both before and since the fall of communism in 1989 have left Poland with one of the shabbiest rail systems in the European Union, which it joined in 2004.
The state of the tracks means many trains have to travel at reduced speeds.
As a result, it takes travellers around five and a half hours, at best, to cover the 345 kilometres (214 miles) from Warsaw to Wroclaw, while the 330-kilometre (205-mile) Warsaw-Poznan trip lasts about three hours.
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