It’s been 103 years since Athens’ Central Railway Station first operation. Over the course of this century, the Station witnessed plenty of historic moments both for the country and the city of Athens but none for the Station itself.
This started to change on February 9, 2017 as the country’s most central railway station became electrified and, therefore, can now accept electric trains. Infrastructure Minister, Mr. Christos Spirtzis boarded on the first “electrified”, trial itinerary starting from Athens Central to Aharnes, in the northwestern outskirts of the city. The full electrification of the urban grid’s network is due to finish this summer as the line leading to Piraeus Port terminal will be electrified as well.
The transformation of the railway transportations
It is noteworthy that the electrification in Athens delayed by… 50(!) years compared to the rest of Europe and 20 years compared to other parts of the network in Greece. Nevertheless, the “job” is now done, meaning that a substantially more efficient and viable operational model for Athens’ Suburban Railway will be in place soon. Direct trains from Athens to Kiato (60’) and the Airport (40’) will become available, at speeds reaching 160 km/h.
As far as intercity trains are concerned, Athens-Thessaloniki corridor will be partially electrified; sections between Athens and Tithorea as well as Paleofarsalos and Thessaloniki will be covered with electric trains, leaving the (temporarily) outdated section of Tithorea-Domokos-Paleofarsalos to run on diesel trains. This scenery is expected to change progressively till the Summer 2018, when the fully renovated railway line will function allowing the operation of solely electric trains that will be covering the distance between Athens and Thessaloniki in 3 hours and 25 minutes.
The upgraded railway infrastructure of this corridor will benefit the booming logistics sector immensely too, as goods and containers will be transported in much less time. The electrification of Athens Central Railway Station will also allow international services to resume; both for train routes to the Balkans and to Central Europe that had been discontinued due to high operational costs.
Athens Railway Station
The Station itself has been a construction site for 15 years. Unfortunately, neither the current contract’s upgrade works nor the following one’s provide for the facilities’ renovation, but for accessibility improvements. The current and, truth be told, not so flattering image of the Station will remain as long as plans for major improvements keep being postponed.
Check below the text a short video clip of the first “electric”, trial itinerary that started from Athens Central Railway Station.