On 26th of June 2012 in the Marshal Office of Mazowieckie Voivodeship the Project Co-financing Implementation Agreement was concluded for the Project titled “Development of the public transport in Warsaw metropolitan area through improvement of the Warsaw Commuter Railway efficiency, reliability and safety” implementable under co-financing within the framework of the Swiss-Polish Co-operation Programme. Over the next consecutive four years the Project would come forward with the purchase of six sets of modern electric traction units and implementation of passenger information and monitoring systems at all halts of the WCR’s railway line.

After welcoming and introducing the guests representing the institutions involved in the preparation and implementation of the Project, the Marshal of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship, Mr Adam Struzikdelivered the keynote address. He stressed the strong commitment of the Mazowieckie Regional Government – the stakeholder of two rail companies: the Mazovian Railways and the WCR – in the organization of rail transport in the agglomeration. Sustainable development of this sector is a major challenge, which is why searching for additional funding sources available within the framework of various financial assistance programmes becomes a necessity. The Swiss-Polish Co-operation Programme is an extremely significant support for upgrading and replacing the WCR’s rolling stock. Ending the speech, the Marshal thanked the Swiss Government for their assistance and wished everyone, especially the WCR Company successful implementation of the Project under consideration.

Mr Heinz Kaufmann, the Director of the Swiss-Polish Co-operation Programme Office underlined that the Project met the very specific needs in terms of the higher living standards in the agglomeration of Warsaw, ensuring the achievement of measurable economic and social benefits. More and more people in the area of the agglomeration, not just in its centre, but also in farther areas, use public transport services. Therefore, it is crucial to support the development of various forms of public transport, not to mention integration of various public transport means (including fares and timetables), which is so important for the organizers of transport in Switzerland. The Director expressed his satisfaction that the Mazowieckie Regional Government and the WCR had taken up the challenge to improve the quality and comfort of travel in the agglomeration. Implementation progress for this extremely significant Project will be carefully monitored in order to guarantee successful completion of the Project implementation. The Project Co-financing Implementation Agreement could be signed due to the Project Agreement that was concluded between Switzerland represented by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Republic of Poland represented by the Ministry for Regional Development on 1st of June 2012.

Ms Małgorzata Zalewska, the Deputy Director of the Department for Assistance Programmes and Technical Assistance in the Ministry of Regional Development  pointed out that the considerable budget and the substantial financial assistance allocated to the Project proves its unique profile as compared to other projects implementable within the framework of the Swiss-Polish Co-operation Programme. The Project is visible, so it contributes to effective publicity of the Swiss financial assistance allotted to Poland among the local community in the agglomeration of Warsaw.

Ms Anna Siejda, the Director of the Implementing Authority for European Programmes noted that the time frames outlined for the Project implementation: 2012-2016 are realistic and guarantee diligent and substantive development of procurement procedures, with prominent contribution by the Swiss and Polish Parties – both the Implementing Authority and the Ministry for Regional Development.

Mr Krzysztof Grzegorz Strzałkowski, the Deputy Marshal of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship drew attention to the significance of the Project that incorporates itself into a series of investment projects implemented by the Regional Government in the area of public transport in the Region of Mazovia. The Projects of Modlin and Okęcie airports are about to end, and the deliverables of these operations, that are co-financed to a great extent, will become visible very soon. If it were not for the financial assistance allotted within the framework of the Swiss-Polish Co-operation Programme, the WCR’s objectives to become successfully integrated with other modes of transport would have been much harder to achieve.

Mr Grzegorz Dymecki, the Chief Executive Officer of the Warsaw Commuter Rail highlighted that purchase of additional trains under the Project will enable the Company to customize add-on transport services offered to the residents. On the other hand, implementation of the system of monitoring stations and halts and informing the passengers about the traffic flow capacity on the WCR’s railway line by means of electronic displays will improve safety and comfort of travel. Passengers will benefit from the opportunity to travel fast, comfortably and safely from the moment they arrive at the halt.

This was followed by the official deed of signing of the Project Co-financing Implementation Agreement within the framework of the Swiss-Polish Co-operation Programme. The Project Co-financing Implementation Agreement was concluded between the Intermediate Body – the Implementing Authority for European Programmes represented by Ms Anna Siejda, the Director and the Executing Agency (the Beneficiary) – Warsaw Commuter Rail Ltd that was represented by: Grzegorz Dymecki, the Chief Executive Officer of the Company and Jolanta Dałek, the Member of the Management Board.

Within the framework of the project „Development of the public transport in Warsaw metropolitan area through improvement of the WKD (Warsaw Commuter Railway) efficiency, reliability and safety6 modern electric traction units will be purchased to service regional connections at WCR lines. Furthermore all stations and halts will be equipped with information tables, while cameras will be installed  in trains and at halts to improve passenger safety.

The project will be implemented in years 2012-2016. The first stage (2013) will mean establishing passenger information and monitoring system. Thanks to it persons waiting for their trains at the stations and halts will be informed about departure and arrival times. All the information will be transferred via electronic tables situated at each platform. The system will apply to all stations and halts of the WCR line. The second stage – delivery of new rolling stock is scheduled for the second half of 2015. Purchased trains will service all connections launched at WCR line – i.e. from Warsaw through Komorów and Podkowa Leśna to Grodzisk Mazowiecki and Milanówek.

The total cost of the investment amounts to 124,7 million zł where 57,8 million zł will come from the means of Swiss-Polish Co-operation Programme.

Execution of this investment will improve communication in six communes (Michałowice, Pruszków, Brwinów, Milanówek, Podkowa Leśna, Grodzisk Mazowiecki) and two districts of Warsaw (Włochy and Ochota). It means a better travelling comfort and safety for the passengers.

Activities scheduled for the project constitute one of the complex stages of modernising WCR communication system, covering, between others, stated in the Development Strategy of Mazovian Voivodeship, integration with other means of public transport. The best proven and commonly approved  example of it is the public communication system in Switzerland. Thanks to the launched cooperation WCR plans to make use of longstanding experiences and practices worked out in this country.

Swiss-Polish Co-operation Programme is a non-repayable help from abroad which was awarded by Switzerland to Poland and 9 other Member States of EU, who joined EU on 1 May 2004. By the power of international agreement, concluded on 20 December 2007 in Bern, about 1 billion of Swiss Francs will reach ten new member States where almost a half (about 489 million CHF, that is 310 million Euro) will be allotted to help Poland.

The aim of the Swiss help is to decrease socio-economic differences between Poland and better developed countries of EU, and also those on the territory of Poland – between city centers and structurally poorly developed regions. Public and private institutions and non-governemental organisations could apply for financing the projects by the Swiss-Polish Co-operation Programme.

The Programme covers all Poland where at least 40 % of means of the whole allocation will be supporting four southern-easter Voivodeships: Lublin, Małopolska, Podkarpacie, and Świetokrzyskie. Under the cooperation system there are 5 years of incurring loans and 10 years of expenses launched on 14 June 2007 i.e. on the day of allotting the financial help to Poland by the Swiss Parliament.

Until today there were 14 competitions under SPCP, applying, between others, to environment and infrastructure, regional development, health protection, scientific research, scholarships for scientists, support for non-governmental organisations, and venture capital fundUntil 14 June 2012, when the deadline to incur liabilities expired,  the Polish and Swiss parties signed 58 agreements for the complete allotted amount of 489 million CHF. Thus it was possible to contract 100% of the means aimed at the help for Poland.

Warsaw Commuter Rail, in order to execute the undertaking, filed the application under Priority No 2: “Environment and Infrastructure”, subject matter one “Rebuilding, repair, conversion and expansion of basic infrastructure and improvement of environment condition”, Aim 3: Improving management, safety, efficiency and reliability of local/regional public transport systems within the framework of the application collection announced/published in Spring 2009.

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