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Budimex to drill rail tunnel in Łdź

Polands Centralny Port Komunikacyjny (CPK) has signed the second of three construction contracts for its most advanced railway project. The over 4-kilometre High-Speed Rail tunnel in Łdź is a key element of the "Y", a route designed to connect Warsaw with Łdź, 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 Łdź has been divided into three parts. The first one, which begins in September this year, includes work aimed at strengthening the foundations of the Łdź Cultural Centre (ŁDK). This investment is being carried out by Keller Polska. The route lies directly under ŁDK on the western side of the Łdź Fabryczna railway station where the HSR tunnel will begin.

CPK has signed a contract for the second stage, i.e. the construction of the chambers for the tunnel boring machine with a shield skin (TBM): launching (at Retkinia) and receiving (near ŁDK). The contract was concluded with Polish contractor Budimex and its value is almost PLN 147 million (approx. EUR 34 million). The third stage of the investment is the drilling of the CPK railway tunnel.

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.

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 HSR ones. In Łdź, high-speed trains will stop at the Łdź Fabryczna station. The tunnel is planned to exit south-west of  Łdź 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 Łdź 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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