One of Europe’s oldest functioning cablecars returns to Polish hands

The still-operational cablecar, was built in 1936 and is one of the oldest in Europe. Grzegorz Momot/PAP

A cablecar in the Tatra mountains dating back to 1936 has been bought by the Polish Development Fund (PFR).

The company is set to gain a 99.77 percent stake in Polish Cableways (PKL, Polskie Koleje Liniowe) from the Mid Europa Partners investment fund’s subsidiary.

PKL is the oldest and biggest cable car operator in Poland, having seven facilities in the Tatras and Beskid mountains, among them the tourist hotspots of Kasprowy Wierch, Gubałówka, Krynica, Szczawnica and Zawoja.

Standing on top of Kasprowy Wierch in the Tatra Mountains, PM Mateusz Morawiecki said: “PKL is coming back to the Polish state.

“We have fulfilled our obligations and as promised such great investments as the cablecar must be in the domain of the Polish state. 

We focus on the purchase of Polish value, Polish property and repolonization.

“All serious countries, such as Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France hold their symbolic, most important, most valuable infrastructure investments in their hands,” he added.

PM Mateusz Morawiecki said: PKL is coming back to the Polish state.Grzegorz Momot/PAP

The purchase of PKL is another transaction in a string of repolonization – buying back companies operating in Poland - from foreign investors.

Kasprowy Wierch (1,987 m) peak is a favourite among the lovers of the Tatra mountains, with endless queues lining up to the cable car both in winter and summer. 

The still-operational cablecar, was built in 1936 and is one of the oldest in Europe. The mountain is a prime skiing location and it has three trekking trails going through it.

Previosuly, the Tatra National Park, which is responsible for preserving the mountain’s wildlife was calling for the cable car on Kasprowy Wierch to be dismantled.  

Szymon Ziobrowski, the Tatra National Park’s Director said: “For us Kasprowy is crucial. 

“The mountain is a symbol for many reasons. 

“We never wanted to close Kasprowy for skiing. (…) Two matters are important to us. 

“Firstly, that we are consulted on investments and agreements are reached when possible. We should discuss investments colliding with nature’s interests as partners and not offensively.”

The National Park’s director suggested that a part of the PKL income from Kasprowy Wierch should go to the Park, which is responsible for the infrastructure and upkeep of the area.

Ziobrowski said: “PKL undoubtedly holds a monopoly for this kind of activity in the Tatras and benefits from a privileged position. 

“Therefore they should participate in the costs of maintaining the Tatra Mountains for the tourists, because the Tatras are not for the park employees or for me, but for the entire society and future generations. 

“This is our national treasure, which is timeless and we must care for them scrupulously.”