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Athens suburban railway plans to Lavrio and Rafina remain stagnant

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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Συρμός του Προαστιακού Αθηνών

The ministerial decision for the extension of Athens Suburban Railway in Rafina and Lavrio is still considered to be far. In a reply document by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, to the MP, Mrs. Maria Apatzidis about the possibility of extending the network in the two major ports of Eastern Attica, two things have become clear once again.

The first is that neither of these two major railway projects is included in the current NSRF 2014-2020. Despite the continuous announcements by all the Ministers of Infrastructure from 2004 onwards, in none of the cases has the inclusion of these projects been ever achieved in the current programming period.

In particular, in the last five years, an effort has been made for these projects to be combined with the upcoming extensions of Attiki Odos. As a result, today these two most important projects that will cover a large area of Easter Attica remain stagnant.

Out of NSRF 2014-2020

As mentioned in the answer to both documents (one for each project) by the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, the projects of the current NSRF do not include interventions by ERGOSE SA for the extension of the Suburban Railway to Rafina and Lavrio. The issue was also raised by ypodomes.com, in a recent report.

The second thing that is clear is that the absence of these projects from the NSRF indicates their “immaturity”, in terms of design. Every project, in order to be able to be funded and included in the NSRF, must be “mature” enough in terms of planning, that is, to have a completed and finalized design, studies, licensing and the necessary expropriations to have been launched.

Out of these, according to the same document, the only progress that has been made since 2009 is an “Advanced recognition study for the design of a suburban railway line in the section from Koropi-Lavrio junction” with a guaranteed preliminary environmental Assessment and Evaluation (EPP) by the Ministry of Environment & Energy (since 2013) and a corresponding study for the extension to Rafina.

What are the possibilities for the extensions?

Although the issue of the Suburban Railway’s extensio to Rafina and Lavrio is a constant request of the local authorities, institutions and residents in the wider area, to date we are at a very early stage.

According to railway sources, in order for these two so-called “orphan projects” to be implemented, the rest of the studies and maturation processes must begin and an effort must be made to integrate them into the upcoming NSRF 2021-2027.

This emerges from the response of Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, as, in both documents it is noted that if the extension projects are prioritized during the defition of the general strategic planning of transport projects, necessary resources for their maturation, in order to make the construction of the tender possible, will be found.

What is positive about both projects is their connection with important urban centers and ports, which gives them significant chances to be funded in the period 2021-2027. In addition, for EU and the Commission, railway project have now become a priority.

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ERGOSE: Railway projects worth 693m euros, funded by NSRF 2014-2020

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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Σιδηροδρομικός Σταθμός Αιγίου

ERGOSE’s current project pipeline is quite interesting since it is spread almost all over the network. According to the planning of company and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, a total of 693m euros will be spent on 11 railway projects which are funded by the NSRF 2014-2020.

Most of these projects concern upgrades of the existing network as well as the installation of electrification, signaling & telecommunications systems. In fact, ERGOSE notes that these projects are mature in terms of design and one after the other will proceed to their implementation.

In Athens, the most important project is the construction of the Athens Central Railway Station (Phase B’), which also includes the underground connection with the Metro, with a cost of 40m euros. With this project, upgrade works of the Central Railway Station will be completed.

Heading north, we find the project for the construction of the new Kryoneri Railway Station with 6.5m euros. One of the biggest projects of this “package” is the upgrade of the double-track line on SKA-Inoi section that will allow higher speeds for the trains, costing 100m euros.

Other projects

In Thessaly, the contract for the electrification, signaling and telecommunications on Larissa-Volos section is being prepared. The project, with a cost of 71m euros, includes the upgrade of Latomio-VIPE-Volos Railway Station.

In the region of Macedonia, we have a total of 4 projects.These are a signaling and ETCS project on Thessaloniki-Idomeni single-track railway line, with a total cost of 65m euros, a double project for the electrification on Thessaloniki-Promachonas (Thessaloniki-Mouries and Mouries-Promachonas) single-track line with a combined cost of 150m euros (65m and 85m euros respectively). In this geographical area there is also a project for the construction of anew railway station at Neos Panteleimonas in Pieria prefecture.

In the area of ​​Peloponnese we have the electrication project of Kiato-Aigio line with 57 m euros as well as the project that will bring the train from Aigio to Rio. This project includes the superstructure, electrification, signaling, telecommunications and new stations at a cost of 117m euros.

Finally, there is a project for the installation of GSM-R systems and the supply of portable equipment for the sections of Tithorea-Domokos, Kiato-Patra and Thessaloniki-Idomeni, with a total budget of 40m euros.

From the above projects, the tender for the electrification on Kiato-Aigio section (the contractor is Mytilineos) is at the phase of completion while the project for the railway station in Neos Panteleimonas has been also auctioned.

More “mature” than the rest of the above works are Larissa-Volos railway project and the second phase of the construction of Athens Central Railway Station.

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Seven contenders for large-scale PPP building project by Thrace University

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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Another PPP project that is anticipated with great interest by the investment community is about to enter its tendering process. The third large building PPP project by Democritus University of Thrace attracted the interest of a total of seven companies: GEK TERNA, ELLAKTOR, AVAX,J/V MYTILINEOS-ATESE, INTRAKAT and THEMELI.

It is reminded that this building project was put up for auction by Democritus University of Thrace in the beginning of May, concerning the construction of student dormitories, educational, research and other infrastructure of the institution and was previously approved by the inter-ministerial committee a few weeks ago with the Senate consequently deciding to to publish the tender notice.

The cost of the project amounts to 107.3m euros (incl. VAT). It is a large complex of building projects that includes: dormitories, university residences, a new central library, a research center and various other buildings. The expression of interest is set for June 23, 2020.

In its announcement, Democritus University of Thrace notes that ‘as a part of DUTH’s Strategic Planning, this project will be a pillar of development, which will make high quality infrastructure, services and specialization available in the area of student welfare (i.e. student dormitories and catering spaces). Concluding, it expresses warm thanks for the support and cooperation with the political and administrative executives of the Special Secretariat for Investments and PPP projects of the Ministry of Growth and Investments.

The scope of the projects

The University of Thrace is ‘spread’ across 4 cities, which means that there are need for the creation of infrastructure in different areas, at the same time. The scope of this new large-scale PPP project is detailed by city:

Alexandroupolis: 4 student dorms (12,194,34 sq.m. for 350 people), a student dining area (3,776,75 sq.m. for 1,500 people) and university residences (12 spaces for at least 4 people, 1,440 sq.m.).

Komotini: 2 student dorms (9,667.36 sq.m. indoor spaces and 3,551,8 sq.m. of outdoor spaces for 350 people), a student dining area (6,000 sq.m. for 2,500 students), a hostel (660 sq.m. for 28 people), university residences (24 residences with blocks of 4 residences, 2,880 s.qm). The construction of a new central library, a reading room and a multi-purpose facility (i.e. one main building covering a surface of 6,000 sq.m. and 17,000 sq.m. in total).

Xanthi: Research Center of Excellence (1 main building with laboratories and research centers, covering 10,000 sq.m. of indoor spaces and 5,000 sq.m. of outdoor spaces).

A project of great added value

A project of this size in Thrace region will have a major impact on the local economy. The fact that there will be construction works in three cities at the same time is expected to revitalize the construction industry and give employment to many companies. It is worth mentioning that it will be the largest building complex, constructed as a PPP in Thrace in many years.

For the wider technical sector, this project means a big relief for the country’s major technical companies that have been experiencing a prolonged ‘drought’.

As noted by the Democritus University of Thrace, “Planning for the sustainable development of DUTH in the immediate future is expected to be a pillar of a new development model in the region and an important part of its history”.

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New ambitious plan for 6 major railway projects in Greece, worth 3.3bn euros

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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Μεγάλα έργα, σιδηροδρομικά

ERGOSE plans to auction 6 very important railway projects through the process of competitive dialogue. Realizing the difficulties of financing but also the time-consuming procedures required to promote the implementation of new major projects, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and ERGOSE are launching a new generation of projects with a total cost of 3.3bn euros aiming to modernize the greek railway and interconnect 6 major ports of the country with the national network.

These projects, according to what Christos Vinis, CEO of ERGOSE, announced from the podium of the 8th Regional Development Conference in Patras(organized by “Peloponnisos” newspaper) last weekend, are as follows:

1. New railway line Thessaloniki-Kavala-Toksotes (i.e. eastern “Railway Egnatia”, with 1.3bn euros

2. Upgrade of Alexandroupoli-Ormenio railway line, with 815m euros

3. Extension of Athens Suburban Railway (“El. Venizelos” Airport-Rafina section), with 300m euros

4. Extension of Athens Suburban Railway (Koropi-Lavrio section), with 380m euros

5. New double-track railway line between Rio and Patra, with 514m euros

6. Connection of Thessaloniki Port 6th Pier with the national network, with 22m euros

According to Mr. Vinis, the choice of the competitive dialogue for the promotion of major railway projects has specific advantages such as the acceleration of the projects’ maturation, the assurance that the best technical solution will be chosen, as a result of the consultation between stakeholders, the possibility of implementing innovative solutions and the compliance with implementation schedules

It is also important that the contractor, after the completion of the dialogue, becomes the master of the project study, thus assuming responsibility for any failure. Now, what remains to be decided is the process by which these projects will run and a more specific timeline for their implementation.

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