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PKP buys Alstrom Pendolino trains for € 665 million


Borsukrates
10 Nov 2015  #31
As someone who bought a Japanese hard drive (HGST - used to be called Hitachi) I have every reason to believe those trains would be ridiculously expensive. The Japanese are pedantic to the extreme. Their definition of "perfect" is "has no flaws". Sounds fair ? They've been known to return a shipment because the exterior of the container was damaged.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,170
10 Nov 2015  #32
As someone who bought a Japanese hard drive

Dude, you've got no shame :))))
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
10 Nov 2015  #33
Do you think TGV fall out of the sky ?

Not sure how to break it to you, but it's much easier to buy an off the shelf product (that someone else already invested considerable amounts in - in this case, the British taxpayer) than it is to try and build something from scratch. The Dutch tried the Fyra and it was an absolute disaster - what makes you think a Polish HST wouldn't be a similar joke?

The TGV is a matter of French national pride, but their Intercites network is a mess and local trains aren't even worth mentioning.

Why didn't they go for "well-proven" Japanese trains ?

Hitachi tends to demand that significant resources are spent on projects. There's no need for that sort of thing for 20 trainsets, and the only other serious possibility, Siemens, also has had terrible problems with getting the Velaro certified. I don't like the Pendolino much, but they got them relatively cheaply and they're good for 250km/h.

Germany and France do not want competition, they want Poland to be the market for their products and reservoir of cheap labor

If that was true, Germany would do everything in her power to stop companies such as Solaris and PESA. Except they're not..

Face it Greggy, you really don't understand the first thing about transport. Poland wanted some shiny trains to show that PKP Intercity is modernising, and the Pendolinos were available cheaply and without any large commitments. They've done the job at an acceptable price.

Anyway, if the Pendolino was so terrible, why is it used throughout Europe successfully? I'd much rather have the Pendolino than the utter shambolic mess that is/was the Dutch HSL and Fyra.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,170
10 Nov 2015  #34
The TGV is a matter of French national pride

They MAKE MONEY selling that technology. Just one of recent examples:
railjournal.com/index.php/high-speed/first-moroccan-tgv-arrives-in-tangiers.html

If that was true, Germany would do everything in her power to stop companies such as Solaris and PESA. Except they're not..

They do really a lot. It took PESA years to get German certification although their trains were already operating in several EU countries. Both German and French markets are very difficult for foreign companies, government/local authorities/major corporations won't buy anything foreign unless it is really MUCH better/cheaper than domestic products. Go work in the real business and get some touch with reality.
Harry
10 Nov 2015  #35
Why didn't they go for "well-proven" Japanese trains ?

Because the Japanese were not interested in taking part in the tender, or were you ignorant of the fact that the Japanese didn't even bother submitting an offer, just as you were ignorant of the dates and so questioned why a train which didn't exist didn't win?
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
10 Nov 2015  #36
They MAKE MONEY selling that technology. Just one of recent examples:

In theory. In reality, they're highly unlikely to ever make a profit on it - many TGV lines run at a loss, and the small amount of profit from selling the TGV pales in comparison with the huge cost of the network. From what I recall, even the profitable lines are unlikely to ever repay the capital costs.

It took PESA years to get German certification although their trains were already operating in several EU countries.

Strange...could have sworn that PESA won a huge order not so long ago with DB Regio, for instance. Must also have been dreaming about all those healthy exports from Solaris and PESA. Even Newag have started to get into the export game. It's actually quite remarkable what Polish companies have managed to do in the last few years with transport vehicles.

Another factor for buying the Pendolino is that there won't be problems with getting it approved to run in CZ/A/D. Any Polish solution would have to be approved from scratch, which is an absolute nightmare for most companies.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,170
10 Nov 2015  #37
Jesus Christ ! I wasn't talking about Japanese trains in regard to PKP order.

or were you ignorant of the fact that the Japanese didn't even bother submitting an offer, just as you were ignorant of the dates and so questioned why a train which didn't exist didn't win?

Harold, let me help you a bit. When a country like Germany or France wants to make any major purchase, they:

* check If domestic companies are able to fulfill that order,
* If not, they adjust the order the way which will enable domestic companies to fullfil it,
* If that is not enough, they re-schedule the whole thing and subsides R&D works If needed,
* when it is finally delivered, they promote and subside the export with gov guaranteed cheap credit etc.

Without that approach they would be no TGV in Morocco (or anywhere else for that matter) or Pendolino in Poland (or Airbus or Eurofighter and a lot of what their economies are based on). And If we adopt the same approach, not only there will be no more Pendolino here but very likely Polish made train will start competing with the same Pendolino in tenders in Romania, Turkey and elsewhere 6-8 years from now... and that would be very xenophobic, homophobic and anti-semitic...
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
10 Nov 2015  #38
You're living in dreamland. The mess with the Fyra shows that it's just not that easy to build a high speed train. You can't just throw money at it and hope it works - you need to get there gradually, which is exactly what PESA are doing with the Dart. I imagine they'll be able to modify the Dart to go at 200km/h once it proves itself at 160km/h in regular service. PESA can then try and go for a 250km/h train with the experience and lessons learnt from the 200km/h Dart - even the Dart itself might be able to do it. But this all takes time and careful planning - not just throwing money at money pits.

If it was so easy to build high speed trains, Spain would have done it themselves. But Talgo needed Bombardier to help, and even with that help, they couldn't get the trains to the original proposed top speed without even more cash.

Stick to PiSonomics Greggy, you clearly have absolutely no idea how difficult it is to build such things. Poland has wisely concentrated on building decent products that will be used by the vast majority of people, not niche vanity technology like high speed trains.

More to the point, we're in the era of consolidation. Alstom, Bombardier, Hitachi and Siemens have the world market between them - a Polish entrant would need the help of one of the Big 4, which would mean not being able to compete anyway.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,170
11 Nov 2015  #39
you need to get there gradually, which is exactly what PESA are doing with the Dart.

Yes.

Poland wanted some shiny trains to show that PKP Intercity is modernising

And yes.

Except that it wasn't "Poland" but PO's gov - so Tusk could take a few PR shots in front of modern looking train (and several other guys take some gifts, enough to make them afford 30k watches) and brag around how "Poland is modernizing".

So they spent 2.7 billion and made it flow out of the country. The bottom line is that we didn't badly need those trains. They should have spent it on Polish made local trains, which would enable producers to invest more in new projects. That's what Gerries would have done and that's what make them rich. But that's not in line with colonial mentality PO follows, they prefer buying from abroad, be praised "in Europe", get a doorman job in Belgium for being such great Europeans and so on.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
11 Nov 2015  #40
Except that it wasn't "Poland" but PO's gov

Nice try, but it's pretty obvious to anyone with any common sense that PKP Intercity needed something to show how they were changing. Perhaps you haven't noticed, but a lot of refurbished carriages have been coming online. From a marketing point of view, the Pendolino was perfect - it got people thinking about rail again, even if their local renovated station only offered IC connections.

So they spent 2.7 billion and made it flow out of the country.

Half of that was paid for by the European Union. So the reality was a mere 80 million złoty a year for the Pendolino if you look at the 17 year agreement that was signed. That price also includes the cost of maintenance and the building of the depot in Warsaw, so Poland really didn't pay very much for the trains.

The bottom line is that we didn't badly need those trains.

Maybe not badly needed, but PKP Intercity needed a marketing tool to show how much the company has changed since 2009. Shiny new trains are always a good way to do that. The numbers are up a huge amount, and the Pendolino certainly brought a lot of attention to the company.

They should have spent it on Polish made local trains, which would enable producers to invest more in new projects.

Why would PKP Intercity spend money on trains run by the provinces/Przewozy Regionalne? That wouldn't make any sense whatsoever.

That's what Gerries would have done and that's what make them rich.

That's why they made that order with PESA, isn't it?

But that's not in line with colonial mentality PO follows, they prefer buying from abroad, be praised "in Europe", get a doorman job in Belgium for being such great Europeans and so on.

Now now. We all know that PiS would prefer a Polish HST concept, which would exist solely to provide endless management "jobs" for their supporters and would never be finished.
Dougpol1 27 | 2,675
11 Nov 2015  #41
So they spent 2.7 billion

Around the same figure budgeted for the infamous 500 zl child support (per year).

Now - which investment makes more sense?

edited
Ironside 47 | 9,574
11 Nov 2015  #42
Now - which investment makes more sense?

If you put things like that an answer is obvious - 500 zl per child.

edited
Borsukrates
16 Nov 2015  #43
According to Jerzy Urban's "NIE" (45/2015):
Złoty Pociąg Platformy - Mateusz Cieślak

* The modified Pendolinos bought by Poland are missing their signature ability. Normal Pendolino trains can pass bends without slowing down, because they lean on bends. 'Pendolino' means 'Pendulum' in Italian.

* Their top speed is 200km/h, up from 160km/h achieved by polish trains in the 80's. Not theoretical speed, but what they can achieve on polish rails.

* The management of PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe announced 16 tenders between 27th of May and 3rd of August, for a total of over 15,000,000,000 PLN (3,535,505,000 EUR, 3,790,415,000 USD, 2,493,280,000 GBP). Those tenders have to be decided within 30 days, which seems designed to eliminate Polish companies.

* At the same time, PKP is getting rid of its own copartnerships able to participate in those tenders. For example PKP Energetyka has just been sold for 1,400,000,000.

* When "NIE" asked, among other things, if there's a link between election date and the record number of tenders, the official response was "there's nothing unusual about this year's tenders or the amount of money involved. Which they claim is false.

* PKP PLK announced 13 tenders between 20th of September and 28th of October, ranging from 375 mln PLN to 3 mld PLN. They add up to almost 15 mld PLN. That's between 4.5% and 5% of Poland's budget.

* Contractors typically have to pay 1-3% deposit (wadium in polish) to qualify. With tenders this big, majority of Polish contractors can't qualify. They can't muster deposits of this size within 30 days.

This is nothing unusual in PKP PLK. "NIE" asked about the distribution of the 700 recent switch replacement contracts. 245 by Polish/German contractors, 156 by Spanish contractors, 154 by French contractors, 151 by Polish/French contractors. Only one of mentioned copartnerships belonged to PKP.

As for rails, PKP had an opportunity to modernize them, allowing for high speed travel. But 90% of money was used merely to repair, restore current rails. The talks about modernization is PR talk.

The article describes in detail the methods used to arrive at these numbers. It's behind a paywall.

If you still don't understand what this is about, Andrzej Wach, the former chairman of PKP, is now a consultant in Austrain construction company PORR. PiS announced change of personnel in PKP. Current directors and managers of PKP are simply planning their future in foreign companies.
Dougpol1 27 | 2,675
16 Nov 2015  #44
According to Jerzy Urban's "NIE" (45/2015):

In a normal country Urban would have been strung up as an enemy of the state, for the disgusting way he carried himself selling the totalitarian regime. I wouldn't take his rag as an authority on how to wipe my arse.

The tilting bogey technology is old news. And on the Warsaw-Gdynia line sadly not fit for purpose.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,390
16 Nov 2015  #45
The modified Pendolinos bought by Poland are missing their signature ability.

As you said, there are 'normal' pendolinos and modyfied pendolinos. The latter were bought by Poland and not only Poland bought 'non-pendolino' versions of those trains.

Having said that, I must admit that NIE is usually a very well informed paper, even if it belongs to a former Jaruzelski's junta spokesman, Jerzy Urban. As far as I can remember, Jerzy Urban had always managed to ridicule Donal Tusk and his ministers every time they tried to raise an issue against him.

I have always felt big stink behind the Pendolino contract and we are surely going to hear more news on that contract in the future.
Harry
16 Nov 2015  #46
* Their top speed is 200km/h, up from 160km/h achieved by polish trains in the 80's.

Actually, they can run at up to 293km/h and have run at that speed on Polish track. The problem is that the tender calls for them to run at 250km/h using ETCS Level 2 signals and there's no track in Poland that currently has fully operational ETCS Level 2 signals (parts of some lines have it).

The latter were bought by Poland and not only Poland bought 'non-pendolino' versions of those trains.

That's because of the type and construction of tracks in Poland, as well as the way they are used.

And on the Warsaw-Gdynia line sadly not fit for purpose.

What makes you say that? I've not taken the Pendolino to Tri-city (I will do next month) but have been on the Warsaw-Wroclaw one a few times and have always been very impressed.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
16 Nov 2015  #47
* The modified Pendolinos bought by Poland are missing their signature ability.

The thing is that it also requires significant upgrading of the line to incorporate the infrastructure that allows the Pendolino to tilt. It's a very expensive undertaking, yet isn't really required on huge parts of the Polish rail network. The price of extra speed also comes at the expense of capacity, which would have a knock-on effect on PKP Cargo. So - from a transport point of view, it's no big deal. What's much more important is to get the CMK upgraded to 250km/h operation sooner rather than later.

* Their top speed is 200km/h, up from 160km/h achieved by polish trains in the 80's.

Correct, although the CMK was and is capable of operating at 250km/h if the money is spent on installing ECTS Level 2. They're getting there, but it's a hugely difficult and complicated process to change signalling. A good comparison is with the Cambrian Line in the UK, which had significant problems with signalling despite being much easier to replace. It will happen, but Poland needs to spend money elsewhere first.

For what it's worth, I think the Pendolino (or strictly speaking, ED250) is already certified for 250km/h operation.

They can't muster deposits of this size within 30 days.

That's absolutely normal. It's designed to stop companies from putting in bids that they can't really finance. It's a guarantee, not a deposit - so if the contractor fails to perform, the company can use the deposit to pay for the new tendering process. But 1-3% is easy enough to obtain if you've got a serious chance of winning the contract.

What's normal in construction is that the Polish company will enter some sort of consortium agreement with a foreign company - the foreign company will provide the capital, the Polish company provides the know-how and it generally works well.

As for rails, PKP had an opportunity to modernize them, allowing for high speed travel.

Yes, as rail has been systematically run down and neglected since the start of the 1990's. From memory, I think it was the Leszno-Głogów line that was limited to 20km/h because of how destroyed the track was. Many others needed total renewal, such as Jaslo-Zagorz in Bieszczady.

Even lines such as Wrocław-Przemyśl have had to undergo a huge, huge amount of work.

Those tenders have to be decided within 30 days, which seems designed to eliminate Polish companies.

30 days is nothing abnormal for tenders.

It's worth pointing out that Urban's NIE is not free of bias - it obviously isn't mentioning that the SLD were very much responsible for letting rail run into the ground in Poland.
Dougpol1 27 | 2,675
16 Nov 2015  #48
What makes you say that?

Severe curves, as you know. Not too bad for the historic Torpedo trains, but a roller coaster of a ride for high speed Inter-city and Pendolinos. In fact IMO the IC carriages offer a more comfortable experience, being heavier and less inclined to sudden jolting.

But of course that is totally subjective and also depends on alcohol levels:) The labrador also agreed that he hates the Pendelino, as it rides like a plane on that route.

I would be interested in others' experiences and opinions.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
16 Nov 2015  #49
Severe curves, as you know.

Yes, it's commonly said that the tilting technology would have been very useful on that line.

Some interesting discussion here about line speeds -

EIC Premium run on regular lines modernised or being modernised to various speeds. The Zawiercie - Grodzisk Mazowiecki corridor which serves Warszawa to Kraków, Katowice and Wrocław has now 200 km/h on approximate 90 km section but it will allow that speed on whole 222 km stretch when finished. This section has superb parameters and it is envisaged that in near future speeds may be raised even up to 250 km/h.

Remaining sections from Grodzisk to Warszawa and from Psary to Kraków are / will be cleared up to 150-160 km/h while from Zawiercie to Katowice 120 km/h is possible. (cropped)

skyscrapercity/showthread.php?p=116825668

The boogeyman at the minute is very much the section between Opole and Koniecpol. Warsaw-Gdansk at 200km/h is fine, but 140km/h is just too slow for the Pendolino.

(by the way : it's called Pendolino by the manufacturer, but it's pretty much a different train to the tilting Pendolino found elsewhere)
Borsukrates
16 Nov 2015  #50
Yes, there's nothing technically illegal about 30 days tenders, or requiring 1% of deposit (bid bond, pl. wadium). But in effect they severely limit the access polish contractors have to these contracts. Polish construction companies could build more of them, and this would build polish economy.

You can set up requirements in such a way that is technically fair, but in practice is designed to benefit one side. For example you have a friend that speaks Kiswahili, so you place a job advertisment for a cook that speaks Kiswahili.

And the article suggested a motive. If a high ranking official, a chairman etc. of PKP arranges tenders in such a way that Polish construction companies are effectively excluded - they're doing a favor to foreign companies. And those companies can return favor by employing those clever officials.

Also, there's certainly something very suspicious about the sudden gold rush of tenders.

Facts have no bias. I don't know about SLD - I only recently resumed reading "NIE" after 20+ years - but Urban is very critical of Leszek Miller, a notable commie. He approves what Miller says, but not with what he does. And I watched interviews with Urban where he said that he likes Donald Tusk of PO (his skill as a politician). He was ashamed to say that, because he doesn't like giving out praise. That didn't stop him from criticizing PO and even having a defamation court battle against Tusk (April Fools joke).

I know Urban is a self-declared commie, and proud to say so. He also calls himself godless, amoral, drunk, Jew, monkey, pig, old rag, and says he has no conscience. I know he was PRL's spokesman for years. Yet he's fiendishly intelligent and says very interesting things.

The thing is that it also requires significant upgrading of the line to incorporate the infrastructure that allows the Pendolino to tilt.

Yes, as rail has been systematically run down and neglected since the start of the 1990's.

You are missing the point. They had an opportunity to replace old-fashioned tracks with modern tracks, which would support stuff like tilting trains. They were certainly not afraid to spend money.

MODERATORS!!! Could you please move the Pendolino thread to its own thread ?moved
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
16 Nov 2015  #51
Polish construction companies could build more of them, and this would build polish economy

Or they would be outbid by (for instance) Romanian or Bulgarian contractors who were also able to access the tender as a result. But realistically, you need the deposit to make sure that the state doesn't lose by companies artifically dumping prices. Alpine of Austria were notorious for doing this - they would offer ridiculously low prices, win the contract, then try and force the government to support them by threatening to walk off the job. Poland took a strong view and said "fine, walk" and spent the deposits running the tenders again.

You can set up requirements in such a way that is technically fair, but in practice is designed to benefit one side.

That's absolutely illegal, especially where EU money is involved (which it is in a lot of infrastructure projects).

And those companies can return favor by employing those clever officials.

It's a nice theory, but the problem is that Poland just doesn't have the capability in many cases of doing large works by itself. You'll notice that a lot of major infrastructure projects are won by foreign companies that then subcontract the work to Polish companies - the major companies take the financial risk, while the Polish companies do the work anyway.

Also, there's certainly something very suspicious about the sudden gold rush of tenders.

Nothing suspicious there beyond common sense - PiS were/are widely known to use the TKM philosophy, which means putting all their men into positions of power regardless of the merit of the previous management. Therefore, to avoid money being lost, they were trying to ensure that projects went ahead before PiS came in and started meddling. It's the same thing that happened with the GDDKiA - the common belief right now is that a lot of roads in preparation for tenders will be scrapped in exchange for things like an S9 from Rzeszów.

They had an opportunity to replace old-fashioned tracks with modern tracks, which would support stuff like tilting trains.

Remember, you also have to maintain the lines - enabling tilt on lines is one thing, but maintaining the costly infrastructure needed is another thing.

There's a very good article here about it - lowtechmagazine.com/2013/12/high-speed-trains-are-killing-the-european-railway-network.html - Poland can keep the EIP price relatively cheap by keeping the infrastructure relatively simple. It's also worth pointing out that the tilting mechanism doesn't come cheap - and it's much more difficult to maintain.
Borsukrates
16 Nov 2015  #52
It almost sounds reasonable when you frame it like that. Almost, because Pendolino tickets are not known for being cheap. The article you link focuses on ticket prices.

Warszawa-Gdańsk (284km straight line, 431km train)
Travel time 3h
Pendolino ticket - 128,50 zł

Meanwhile in Czech Republic:
Ostrava - Praga around 356 km
travel time 3:07
ticket price 2nd class 330 KCZ = around 53 zł (PLN)

And they have the tilting Pendolinos. I'm not seeing an advantage here.
Harry
16 Nov 2015  #53
Almost, because Pendolino tickets are not known for being cheap.

They can be stupidly cheap. You can get to Gdansk and back for under 100zl; 98zl to be exact. That's second class, first class starts at 69zl each way.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
16 Nov 2015  #54
Almost, because Pendolino tickets are not known for being cheap.

Pendolino tickets can be had for 59zł in advance. I've just checked the Cesky Drahy website and the cheapest Pendolino tickets are about 50zł in advance, so broadly comparable.

And they have the tilting Pendolinos.

There are several factors : Cesky Drahy has huge competition, not only from intercity buses but also from RegioJet. Also bear in mind that the infrastructure wasn't so destroyed in CSR as in the PRL, and also the Czechs didn't deliberately try and destroy their rail system post-1990.

The problem in Poland is not PKP Intercity itself, but rather that the unions are aggressive about blocking competition. I recall that Student Agency wanted to bring the RegioJet to Poland, but the unions here have made it very clear that they'll stop any competition. It's a shame - they really understand how to operate a railway company.
jon357 64 | 14,382
16 Nov 2015  #55
I still like the old fashioned trains with net curtains in the dining car.

Still cheap in Poland though, whether faster or slower and better if the pendolinos don't go too fast round the bends.
Harry
16 Nov 2015  #56
I still like the old fashioned trains with net curtains in the dining car.

I prefer the waiter service on the Pendolino trains.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
16 Nov 2015  #57
First of all, it is ALSTOM without "R" wich used to be spelled "AstHom" some years ago (I remember). @Delph: once more, you talk without knowing anything! Compare trains in France and in ... GB ;). Believe me, there is not only the TGV ;). To write so much French bashing on a POLISH forum besides showing your ignorance (normal in PF) could also be ... psychological because it is not normal. Did you have a French girl friend who told you to f... off???? ;)
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
16 Nov 2015  #58
Compare trains in France and in ... GB ;)

...Don't do it ;)

I know quite a bit about the French network, and the problem is that almost everything was thrown at the TGV network. It's undeniably the best high speed network in Europe and no-one else even comes close, and I absolutely respect the French for what they've done with it. But the local trains in some areas along with some of the "intercites" network is falling to bits - thelocal.fr/20150526/france-set-to-scrap-several-train-lines. It's not only France that has this problem - I could talk all day about how utterly unsuitable some of the rolling stock is in the UK.

But don't worry - the TGV network is still jaw-droppingly great, and I love the way that SNCF has made the TGV network available to everyone by offering deeply discounted tickets to senior citizens and so on. It's a huge difference to the UK and Germany for instance.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
16 Nov 2015  #59
@Delph: compare with other countries, including ...... GB!!! ;). But never mind, what does it have to do with Poland????? As said, bashing other people and other nationalities is not normal. Very often it results from deep jealousy ;). Believe, although far from perfect (it is very expensive), the French train system is recognized as one of the very best. However, what's the relationship with Poland???? I know that Alstom is a French company but besides that, I don't see... As I'm more intelligent, I don't want to get into stupid English bashing (it would not be so hard though as the hordes of alcoholic under proletarian "ESL teachers" ending up in Polish rathole towns for a couple of thousands of zl don't give a brilliant image of Britain ;);););), I've met quite a few here in Poland that didn't look much more "elegant" than "bezdomny", I would be ashamed of them should I be British) because I think it is completely stupid.....

Case closed! :)
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
16 Nov 2015  #60
However, what's the relationship with Poland?

The problem is that some dreamers think that Poland (with no heritage of high speed railways) could just say "right, let's build some high speed trains" and that would be that. ;) Or they could buy from Alstom, who know a thing or six about train building...

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