Tramwaj to Mistrzejowice – Final Closure

We’re proud and humbled to announce that we’ve signed the financing documents for Krakow Tram project as of December 2022. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank and PFR are among the lenders financing the construction of KST IV!

Under the project structure, Gülermak has undertaken to provide equity, arrange financing from financial institutions, organize construction and subsequently maintain the tram line.

The financing represents the longest ever tenor achieved in a PLN financing in Poland and the largest loan ever in PLN in the infrastructure project. In addition, the financing includes a Mezzanine Debt tranche provided by PFR. Gülermak is also injecting its equity financing without any equity partner.

Financing for the Kraków tram in the PPP formula

Construction works will start immediately once the ZRID decision is ready – it is expected in Q1 2023.

“This is a pioneering project and establishes the benchmark with regard to PPP and finance documentation for the next generation of PPP Projects in Poland. Now, we have a well-structured PPP documentation, a first application of Direct Agreement between the Lenders and the Municipality and well-established parameters of financing in place. We should also congratulate Krakow Municipality and their advisors for their leadership against all the odds at a time of regional conflicts, volatile global economy and a high-inflationary environment. We’re also grateful to our lenders EBRD, EIB, PFR among others and our advisors, DLA, JK Law, CMS, Atkins, F1F9 and Indecs – says Turkekul Dogan, CEO, PPP Investments at Gülermak.

Among others, we and the lenders have prioritized environmental and social impact of the Project and applied highest international standards to achieve ‘green loan’ status and also with regard to impact of the project on people during construction and operation stages.

Tramway to Mistrzejowice – a benchmark for local governments

With this project, Krakow Municipality has also established a benchmark for successful delivery of the project among the public entitites and municipalities. The steps taken by the partners of the Kraków project will be a model for other local governments wishing to implement key investments without affecting debt ratios and current financing of other projects.

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Tramway to Mistrzejowice is the topic of a project group study

The designed tram route to Mistrzejowice has become the subject of a scientific analysis! Students of one of Kraków’s universities chose the planned investment for a case study to analyze a real, current and important matter in the field of public administration.

A task group of students from the Cracow University of Economics is working on a project as part of  Public Administration subject in the field of Public Economy and Administration. – We decided together that the construction of a tram route to Mistrzejowice is a topical, interesting and noticeable matter while the investment – in our opinion – is extremely necessary for the residents of Kraków. That is why we focused on this case and thought we would get to know its internal structures, people involved in the implementation of the project and its phases – says Joanna Ziółko, the representative of the task group.

PPP project in the spotlight of students

On top of the approach to investment planning (green areas, traffic noise), students were curious to investigate the rare formula of its implementation: PPP. A quick reminder: Public-Private Partnership is a model based on long-term cooperation of a public entity (e.g. a city, a commune) with a private partner. Benefits, as well as the responsibility involved in the cooperation, are split between both parties in line with an agreement whose purpose is to improve the quality of infrastructure and services available to residents. Thanks to this model, the contracting authority does not burden the creditworthiness by spreading the payment over many years of cooperation with a private partner.

By analyzing the design of the tramway to Mistrzejowice, we can learn what this form of cooperation is based on and how it looks in practice – says Joanna Ziółko.

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They provide direct current for the trams. We will build two traction substations

Out of concern for urban architecture, we located one of the traction substations for the needs of powering the KST IV route underground. This is how we reduced the occupation of land for the needs of operating the facility to a minimum.

Each new tram route needs additional power to provide the cars with the right conditions for smooth traffic. The analyzes Gülermak made at the design stage show that nearly 60 km of new cables and two traction substations will be needed to operate the route of approx. 4.5 km They will be equipped with 4 rectifier units of 800 kW each.

Underground traction station = more space on the ground

The first station will be developed on the area of Bohomolca and Marchołta junction. Together with the necessary infrastructure, the facility will occupy approx. 225 sq m.

More than 10 times less ground-level space is needed for the Młyńska station, which the private partner – experienced in the construction of metro – designed in the tram route tunnel (area of the junction with Młyńska Boczna Street). – Only the entrance part of the staircase, providing access to the substation, will be located above the ground – says Maciej Wołtosz, Electrical Design Coordinator with Gülermak. The design also features a parking space for maintenance vehicles serving the facility. It is located at Młyńska Street, on the side of the entrance to the staircase.

Smooth traffic on the new route to Mistrzejowice

The two stations will streamline tram traffic on the newly designed route. Their designed power will meet the contractual provisions and support the frequency of running even every 90 seconds. In the future, part of the route will be included in the first line of the Kraków premetro.

The public entity will be responsible for the maintenance of traction substations during the period of operation, while the private partner – for the first 20 years of operation – will take over the maintenance of, among others, tunnel with underground stops, tram tracks and tram infrastructure devices.

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Accesses to the stop under Młyńskie roundabout will be roofed

Two entrances leading to the Młyńskie Roundabout stop, designed on level -1, will be roofed. It will be more comfortable for users and will protect the infrastructure against unfavorable weather conditions.

So far, the design provided for roofed access to the underground platforms only at the Polsadu Roundabout stop. That was the requirement imposed on the private partner at the very beginning of works on KST IV. However, the number of staircases has increased since that time. Following the change instruction from the City of Kraków, the Młyńskie Roundabout hub was redesigned so that the tramway would take a grade-separated route at -1 level.

With the changes introduced, the trackbed is located on level -1 and communication with level 0 is through two exits featuring traditional stairs and lifts. Initially no roof was designed here which was reflected in the architectural and building design filed for approval under the ZRID (building permit) procedure.

Roofed stops to make passengers comfortable

After consultations with the public entity, Gülermak adopted a solution with roofed stops also on the Młyńskie Roundabout. It is more practical and more comfortable for passengers. Exits resembling those proposed at Polsadu Roundabout will make it more comfortable on rainy days, but also protect the infrastructure against the effects of unfavorable weather conditions. The design features modern finishing materials such as steel, glass and facade cladding to create a consistent color concept throughout the stop.

For more about the main theme of the architectural design on the stops along KST IV go here.

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The Municipal Greenery Authority (ZZM) agreed on the design for plantings

1,055 new tress and almost 25,000 shrubs, grasses, perennials and creepers will be planted along the planned tram route to Mistrzejowice. ZZM approved the location and type of compensation plantings.

The private partner has received approved greenery design for the location of compensation plantings. Design works lasting several weeks – involving the relocation of planned and existing systems, adjustments to sidewalks or bicycle paths geometric layout – and a pile of new approvals allowed to locate virtually all new trees and shrubs in the area covered by the investment. This means that lawns along the trackbed and pedestrian and bicycle routes will be planted with trees in the proportion of 1:1. These trees will offer shade to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.

Fewer noise barriers, more greenery

A number of changes compared to the initial design assumptions was possible following the change instruction from the public entity at the request of residents (regarding, among others, reduced traffic noise, and thus reduced number of noise barriers). As a result, more space was regained for new plantings along the footways and bicycle routes. However, the current shape of the greenery design was also influenced by the relocated systems, e.g. heating or water and sewage systems – these required re-arrangements. The approval from all municipal units turned out to be necessary. Excellent cooperation at the design stage made it possible to achieve the assumed goal. As a result, the private partner proposed locations for 1,055 new trees and 24,761 seedlings of shrubs, grasses, perennials and creepers.

Urban-resistant species

On hot days, some trees will offer shade for public transport users waiting for a tram or bus. – Almost each stop features trees in a permeable surface with the use of solutions enabling the future growth of the root ball in a separate space under the pavement – says Agnieszka Gurgacz, environmental protection specialist with Gülermak. Similar solutions are designed for trees planted within sidewalks.

Only native species of trees and tall shrubs are chosen for wide vegetated strips, such as broad-leaved linden, rowan, white dogwood and forsythia, and ground cover roses in narrow ones. Those selected are resistant to harsh urban conditions like drought, salinity, high temperature and absorb traffic pollution.

Forested terminus, wildflower meadow, rain garden

Unusual solutions were proposed at the most important points along the tram route. The Mistrzejowice Terminus will be forested with several dozen trees, including birches and linden trees. The composition will also feature carefully selected shrubs and grasses. A wildflower meadow will be set up at the Barei Roundabout. The popular acacia locust growing on the central island of the roundabout will be joined by eight new seedlings of this species. Rain garden will be established in the immediate vicinity. In the current design it has gained additional planting species in order to adapt it to changing weather conditions. At the Młyńskie Roundabout, a delightful composition of maples, roses and varieties of ornamental grasses will be introduced.

ZZM also approved the announced ’green’ trackbed covered with sedum mats wherever technically allowed. The drought-resistant and easy-to-maintain sedum was also designed on the roofs of bus waiting shelters – to put in place the so-called ‘green stops’.

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Mistrzejowice Terminus – brand new face after 50 years

The new route to Mistrzejowice ushers in major changes not only where the tracks are introduced for the first time. The current terminus will gain a new look and, above all, functionality.

It will be yet another terminus recently upgraded as part of a large municipal investment. This one is specific though. During the construction of the Łagiewnicka Route, the Kurdwanów Terminus was never completely redeveloped. It only gained the possibility of entering and leaving from the opposite side to serve tramways from Zakopiańska Street. The Krowodrza Górka Terminus currently being redeveloped will become less important. The main traffic will go to the new terminus on Górka Narodowa. Much fewer trams will end in the current location, which is also reflected in the parameters of the new infrastructure.

It will be completely different in the case of the Mistrzejowice Terminus. It will be built from scratch and its length will almost double. Once the investment is completed, it will be hosting much more trams than today.

About time

– The terminus in Mistrzejowice was launched in November 1974. It deserves a complete redevelopment after half a century – says Marcin Hanczakowski, Director of Kraków Municipal Road Authority (ZDMK). – The new version, unveiled to the residents after the works are completed, will meet all current standards. It will be much more functional and will make it easier for pedestrians to access the tram – adds the Director.

What exactly will change? Firstly, it will serve two directions: trams can go both towards Prądnik Czerwony and towards Nowa Huta. There will be two 65-meter-long platforms on the route, and two more 45-meter-long on the terminus to allow safe exit and boarding of trams. There will be modern information displays, shelters and facilities for the disabled.

For different groups

An important change will be the shift of the pedestrian crossing over Jancarza Street towards the west – the route and the travel time to

bus terminus on the opposite side will shorten. This is how the new terminus will offer easier switch between trams and buses. Right next to the tram platforms, there will also be a bus stop transferred from the intersection with Załuskich Street. Pedestrians can be sure they will no longer have to use shortcut footpaths – pavements have been designed in each major direction so that they can safely and comfortably move around the entire terminus. At the aforementioned intersection with Załuskich Street – as requested by the residents – there will be an additional right turn lane from Jancarza Street.

Designers have not forgotten about cyclists. A separate bicycle path will reach the terminus along the southern side of Jancarza Street, connected to the existing shared zone on the eastern side of the terminus. There will also be a bicycle parking. In the future, the city also plans to a bicycle path along the opposite side of Jancarza Street.

New arrangement

As announced, the terminus will be functional and green. – The terminus will be forested. Several dozen trees will be planted between the alleys, including Norway maple, black pine, warty birch and small-leaved linden. The composition will be complemented by carefully selected shrubs and grasses, including ground covering rose or tufted hairgrass. You can wait for the tram in the shade on one of the benches – says Agnieszka Gurgacz, environmental protection specialist with Gülermak.

Greenery will also be provided on two platforms from the side of Jancarza Street. The trees were designed using solutions supporting future growth of the root ball in a separate space under the pavement.


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Energy-efficient street lighting to reduce electricity bills

The growing costs of electricity consumption prompted local governments to seek savings. One way to cut the bills is to upgrade street lighting. The Bohomolca and Krzesławicka streets planned for redevelopment prove that replacing sodium fixtures with LEDs cuts electricity consumption by as much as half.

Energy sales offers received by local governments and their subordinate units sparked discussions about potential ways of saving it. Greater burden on the budget means less funds for investments the residents are expecting so much. They would find it difficult to accept shorter opening hours of swimming pools or libraries or the lack of Christmas decorations on the streets, so such cuts are considered as a last resort. However, there is something that can bring considerable relief for the budget and the Planet – replacing street lighting with energy-saving ones. It is proved by the calculations for KSTIV project.

How to make savings on street lighting?

Sodium lamps are still common across many cities. These outdated appliances use most of their energy to emit heat instead of lighting up the streets and cannot boast a satisfactory service life. There is no doubt that they must be replaced with more modern fittings and this is slowly happening. There is still much left to do.

Usually, the lighting is replaced along when the remaining street infrastructure is replaced. This will be the case for the Tramway to Mistrzejowice. – Some sections of the planned route still feature sodium lamps, for example at Krzesławicka or Bohomolca Streets. 70W, 100W and 150W fixtures will be replaced here with LEDs with a power of 55W, 60.5W, 70W, respectively. It will reduce energy consumption while the new lighting will be operational for much longer – says Maciej Wołtosz, Electrical Design Coordinator with Gülermak.

Power consumption cut by half

The calculations reveal that the replacement of several dozen sodium fittings at Krzesławicka and Bohomolca Streets will reduce energy consumption by 49.6%. The LEDs used will have a service life of at least twice as long as those to be disassembled.

– In Kraków, we systematically upgrade street lighting, because the savings from such investments are clearly reflected in electricity bills. But that’s not all. This way we are relieving not only the city budget, but also the environment. Reduced energy consumption means less harmful CO2 emissions – says Marcin Hanczakowski, Director of Kraków Municipal Road Authority (ZDMK).

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The first premetro section to be made together with the tram route to Mistrzejowice

Over 1.5 km of the new tram route to Mistrzejowice will be shared with premetro. The works performed during the construction of the trackbed will be part of the new solution expected by the residents of Kraków.

In the middle of last year, the city officially announced what had already been hinted at by experts and city officials: a traditional metro, built entirely underground, in the case of Kraków is substantively and economically unjustified. The so-called premetro is the alternative. The difference is not about some sections running above the ground (because such solutions are applied for regular subways). It is basically a lighter system that is compatible with the tram infrastructure. Plus, its construction is almost half cheaper than traditional metro. Also, the estimated maintenance costs are over 2.5 times lower – a major advantage from the point of view of the city’s budget.

The route: Wzgórza Krzesławickie – Jasnogórska

The route is planned from Wzgórza Krzesławickie to Bronowice and it will connect other districts on the northern side of Vistula river: Nowa Huta, Bieńczyce, Mistrzejowice, Prądnik Czerwony, Grzegórzki, Stare Miasto and Krowodrza.

The important part is that the route is to be built in stages. It was one of key arguments in favor of choosing this model. Already with the first stage launched, premetro offers a chance for a significant improvement in the efficiency of public transport in the city. The route designers also sought full integration of the recommended variant with other investments. The aim was to support effective use of the tramway network, facilitate transfers and come up with an attractive alternative to traveling by car.

The first step is now

Even before any works start at the Kraków pre-metro project, its first parts will be ready. The new tram route to Mistrzejowice – to be ready in 2025 – will share four stops with the planned premetro line: Dobrego Pasterza, Barei Roundabout, Polsadu Roundabout and Młyńskie Roundabout. Stops at Polsadu and Młyńskie Roundabouts will be underground. The joint section is 1,625 meters in total and it will partly run in a tunnel.

Many ongoing changes

Interestingly, the shared infrastructure was not the initial plan. Paweł Motyka, Deputy Project Manager at Gülermak, says the concept of building the premetro was unveiled when the KST IV tram route construction project was already at an advanced stage and had received the first arrangements. – We had to re-analyze the section shared by both lines, redesign it to handle premetro cars. Shared stations have been redesigned using our proprietary concept to ensure a collision-free traffic service or to enable subsequent expansion. The platforms located on level -1 have been extended to 65 meters – he explains.

That was just the starting point for changes. It was also necessary to analyze and adjust exit widths at underground stops to handle increased passenger flows. Two turnout chambers were designed on the north and south sides of the shared section. The southern side turnouts support extension of the premetro route towards the center, while the northern side ones – the exit of the future tram route to Strzelców Street. The tunnel features a line block system to enable up to 40 trams per hour in each direction. This way the so-called concealed works will be reduced during the construction of the premetro.  It will save money and reduce difficulties during project.

– The new tram route will be coordinated with the premetro. Also, they will share the route between Barei Roundabout and the Młyńskie Roundabout.  Estimates indicate that the city will save money on this project – says Marcin Hanczakowski, Director of Kraków Municipal Road Authority (ZDMK).


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We distributed 15 thousand news-sheets

What will underground stops look like? When are works planned to be started? How to contact us? We wanted to reach people living and working near the planned KST IV tram route with such information by releasing the first issue of the “Informator” news-sheet.

15 thousand copies of the first issue of the “Informator” were distributed to mailboxes of the neighbors of the future project, directly to passers-by, drivers and to public institutions. The aim of this action was to provide information about the planned construction to those who did not know about it or who knew very little. Although most of the residents search for such information in the Internet, not everyone has access to online information.

Eco-friendly distribution

The “Informator” contains, among others, basic data on the project, a map of the planned route, a letter from the Mayor of Kraków to the residents, an interview with project partners and contact details for stakeholders. Out of concern for our planet, the news-sheet was distributed with the use of an eco-friendly means of transport – a cargo bike. Also an electronic version can be downloaded by clicking on the button below the article.

The second issue of the “Informator” is planned to be released before the commencement of the construction works. It will contain materials about the planned temporary and permanent traffic arrangement designed due to the construction.

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Noise-reducing methods along the investment revealed!

Fewer trucks, a quiet bus fleet, narrow roadways – these are some of the assumptions to reduce road noise along the new tram route to Mistrzejowice.

We have recently announced that adjustments to reduce the acoustic nuisance associated with car traffic will be requested at the final stage of design works. Their aim is to reduce the number of noise barriers and trees to be removed as requested by the residents.

The design of Tramway route to Mistrzejowice – the last adjustments 

The Private Partner has already been asked to introduce changes and the chief designer has been requested to make the necessary adjustments. These are:

  • adopting the cross-section of the street in accordance with the current permanent traffic organization: 2×1 plus parking lanes, road width of 6.5 m in total on straight sections and the implementation of a band with a usable width of 0.75 m behind the road, along parking spaces;
  • the currently designed sidewalk (that was to serve parking spaces as well) to be converted to green area;
  • taking into account the use of a modern, silent tram rolling stock by the carrier;
  • limiting the traffic of heavy vehicles and introducing an electric bus fleet;
  • applying surfaces with improved noise-reduction parameters for locations particularly exposed to its increased level.

How will the changes affect the schedule?

Within the coming month, the Private Partner will analyze the impact of the changes requested on the costs and duration of the investment. Since their scope does not affect the investment area, the application for ZRID (road construction consent) is not necessary again. The amendment will be made only by means of supplementing the documentation.

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