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The construction of the CPK long-distance HSL tunnel in Łódź has begun

posted on 7th Dec 2023 14:41

On 7 December 2023 CPK has signed the second of three construction contracts for its most advanced railway project. The over 4 km long high speed rail tunnel in Łódź is a key element of the "Y", a route designed to connect Warszawa with Łódź, Poznań and Wrocław. CPK plans to complete the construction of the tunnel simultaneously with the launch of the first stage of the CPK airport. 

The construction of the CPK long-distance tunnel in Łódź has been divided into three parts. The first one, which begun in September this year, includes work aimed at strengthening the foundations of the Łódź Cultural Centre (ŁDK). This investment is being carried out by Keller Polska. The route lies directly under ŁDK – on the western side of the Łódź Fabryczna railway station – where the HSL tunnel will begin. 

On 7 December 2023, CPK has signed a contract for the second stage, i. e. the construction of the Retkinia chambers for the tunnel boring machine with a shield skin. The contract was concluded with Budimex and its value is almost 147 million PLN (approx. 34 million EUR). The third stage of the investment is the drilling of the CPK railway tunnel. 

“Our predecessors made the fateful decision in 2011 where the preparations for the construction of a high-speed line connecting Warszawa, Łódź and Sieradz with Wrocław and Poznań were suspended. 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 contract for the long-distance tunnel, which we are signing today, is a historic moment for Łódź. The construction of the tunnel designed to connect Łódź and the CPK airport as part of the designed HSL system is starting,” says Marcin Horała, Deputy Minister of Funds and Regional Policy, Government Plenipotentiary for CPK. 

The Retkinia chamber, designed at the south-western end of the tunnel, is intended to serve as a launching shaft for the TBM (tunnel boring machine with shield skin). Ultimately, it is going to be a technical facility that accommodates an evacuation area, technical rooms and evacuation staircases. Fabryczna is going to be a disassembling shaft for the TBM and a turnout chamber. 
“CPK is not only about the planned airport, but also about the much-needed new railway lines in Poland. About 450 km of lines are already in an advanced design stage, including the railway sections between Warszawa 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.

The contractor's tasks include the development of design plans and specifications as well as the construction of the launching and receiving chambers (named after their location: Retkinia and Fabryczna). The scope of the contract also includes ensuring proper traffic organization and restoration works. The construction time for the Retkinia chamber is 10 months while for the Fabryczna chamber it is about 13 months, from the completing work on strengthening the foundations of ŁDK.

The tunnel is intended for long-distance trains, especially the HSL ones. In Łódź, high-speed trains will stop at the Łódź Fabryczna station. The tunnel is planned to exit south-west of Łódź Kaliska, in the vicinity of the Retkinia housing estate and the existing railway line no. 14. The route continues westwards towards Sieradz, where it forks in the direction of Poznań and Wrocław. 

The CPK railway investment in Łódź is part of the North Sea – Baltic Sea corridor, being a part of the TEN-T core network, which means it is an element of the trans-European transport network. 

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