Towards a climate neutral EU:
efficient allocation of EU funds

Regional railway in Lower Silesia

Organisation: Institute for Sustainable Development Fondation Website: Added: March 18, 2022
Project start date: March 31, 2022
Project end date: March 01, 2027


Poland has one of the lowest per capita railway-usage rates in the EU. Many regions have very little rail infrastructure and few trains in operation. A significant number of railways have ceased operations since 1995, with a peak number of closures taking place in 1999. EU funding from 2004 has raised the quality of rail service in many regions, but overall conditions remain well below West European standards. Lower Silesia is one region in Poland with a relatively high density of rail infrastructure, but many lines have been closed or de-prioritised in the last two decades.

The National Railway Company owns most railway lines in Poland. Regional authorities typically purchase little more than rolling stock and provide financing according to a timetable to address an immediate interest. Lower Silesia is currently a step ahead, however, and has taken advantage of national legislation to overtake some of the local and regional railway lines in terms of ownership or management. In taking this step, Lower Silesia regional authorities can efficiently allocate EU funding to finance not only the rolling stock, but also to modernise and revitalise local and regional railway lines. It is worth noting that the regional authority has been more efficient and cost-effective in implementing railway modernisation than the National Railway Company. Recent revitalisation also includes a more effective means of introducing new rail connections with other regions.

Financial data

Funding: EUR 140 mln (2nd-highest allocation of funds for railways from 16 Polish regions). Most of the money will be invested in railway track and infrastructure. The region will add a further EUR 40 mln to purchase new rolling stock.


We recommend that other Polish regions overtake the management or ownership of regional and local railway lines from the National Railway Company, and that they pursue the procurement of funding from the EU and other sources. Other regions in Central and Eastern Europe would do well to follow this example, as well.

Information sources


Other info

Regional Fund for Lower Silesia region 2021-2027:

Good practice added by Institute for Sustainable Development Foundation:

European Climate Initiative (EUKI)
This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI). EUKI is a project financing instrument by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The EUKI competition for project ideas is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.