Visualisation of the high-speed rail tunnel in Łódź

CPK signs second contract for construction of high-speed rail tunnel

Visualisation of the high-speed rail tunnel in Łódź CPK

Polish company Centralny Port Komunikacyjny (CPK) has signed a contract with Budimex for the construction of chambers for the Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM) which will dig a 4-kilometre high-speed rail tunnel in Łódź. It will be part of the high-speed railway lines to be constructed in Poland, connecting to the CPK air-rail hub between Warsaw and Łódź.

The construction of the CPK long-distance tunnel in Łódź has been divided into three parts. As part of the first, work to reinforce the foundations of the Łódź Cultural Centre (ŁDK) has been underway by Keller Polska since September this year. It is directly underneath the ŁDK – on the western side of the Łódź Fabryczna station – where the high-speed rail tunnel will begin.

On 7 December, the CPK company signed a contract for the second stage: the construction of chambers for the TBM mechanised shield for the tunnelling of the tunnel from two sides. The contract was concluded with Budimex and its value is almost 34 million euros (PLN 147 million). The third stage of the investment will be the tunnelling of the CPK railway tunnel itself. CPK plans to complete the construction of the tunnel simultaneously with the launch of the first stage of the CPK airport, in 2028. The CPK railway investment is part of the North Sea–Baltic Sea corridor, being part of the core network of the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T).

Map with the high-speed rail tunnel in Łódź, Poland
Map with the high-speed rail tunnel in Łódź, Poland

Earlier preparations suspended in 2011

“Our predecessors made the fateful decision in 2011 where the preparations for the construction of a high-speed line connecting Warsaw, Łódź and Sieradz with Wrocław and Poznań were suspended”, says Marcin Horała, Deputy Minister of Funds and Regional Policy, Government Plenipotentiary for CPK. “No one can give this time back to the residents. That is why it is only today – thanks to the CPK investments – that the construction of the Y-shaped railway route can begin.“

The Y-shaped route refers to the high-speed railway lines that will be constructed as part of the CPK project, which also involves a completely new airport, the CPK hub. With an operating speed of 250 kilometres per hour, the Y-shaped high-speed line is to result in significant savings in travel time. Warsaw-Poznań will take 2 hours instead of three, while Poznań-Kalisz travel time will be cut from 1.5 hours to 35 minutes. Going from the capital to Kalisz will eventually take 1.25 hours, not three, and getting from Poznań to Łódź should take 1 hour and 10 minutes instead of three hours.

“CPK is not only about the planned airport but also about the much-needed new railway lines in Poland. About 450 kilometres of lines are already in an advanced design stage, including the railway sections between Warsaw and Łódź as well as Łódź and Wrocław. Today we are going one step further, and signing a contract for the construction work. The long-distance tunnel in Łódź is our most advanced railway investment in terms of preparations,” says Radosław Kantak, Member of the CPK Management Board for Railway Investments.

Tunneling preparations

The contractor’s tasks will include the development of detailed design documentation and the construction of the launch and receiving chambers (called Retkinia and Fabryczna from their location respectively). Designed at the southwestern end of the tunnel, the Retkinia Chamber will serve as a launching shaft for the TBM, the tunnel boring machine. Ultimately, it will be a technical facility that will accommodate, among other things, an evacuation area, technical rooms and evacuation staircases. Fabryczna, on the other hand, will be a dismantling shaft for the TBM shield and a turnout chamber.

The contract also includes, among other things, the provision of appropriate traffic organisation and restoration works. The construction time for the Retkinia chamber is 10 months, and for the Fabryczna chamber 13 months, from the completion of the work to reinforce the LDC foundations.

“The construction of the launching chambers for TBMs is a responsible construction task, requiring the involvement of appropriate engineering and technical resources along with ensuring the highest technical standards of execution and control of these works”, says Maciej Olek, Member of the Management Board of Budimex. The company was also involved in the construction of the M03 civil engineering structure, in which 2 high-speed rail tracks are located. That was carried out as part of the reconstruction of the Warszawa Zachodnia Station,

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Author: Esther Geerts

Former Editor RailTech.com

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