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Athens – Thessaloniki by train in less than 200 minutes by summer 2022

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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ΤΡΑΙΝΟΣΕ Λευκό Βέλος ETR 470

From the summer of 2022, the route Athens-Thessaloniki will be completed in less than 3 hours and 15 minutes. This important development is considered important by railway sources as then the completion, of the E / M, that will allow higher speeds and safety on trains running on rails, is foreseen.

TRAINOSE in turn plans the launch of trains coming from Italy on the Athens-Thessaloniki line. The first one has already arrived at the beginning of the year and another one is planned to come in the next few days. A total of 5 trains will be in Greece until the autumn to undertake the connection of the two cities.

According to sources familiar with the railway events, the completion of the signaling projects, ETCS, ERTMS is the key point that will change the image of the railway and raise the level of rail transport. Especially the launch of these high speeds requires a network that must operate smoothly, reliably and most importantly safely.

The completion of the E / M

The day before yesterday, ERGOSE announced the signing of a supplementary contract for the completion of contract 717, which deals with electromechanical systems and more specifically with signaling. The consortium that has undertaken the projects is TOMI-ALSTOM which will have at its disposal 18 months from the day of signing, i.e. in September 2022. The contract concerns the entire axis from Athens to Thessaloniki to Promachonas. It does not concern the Tithorea-Domokos section that is ready and already operating (being part of another contract).

There are two contracts for ETCS. The first, active since 2004 concerns the installation of the system on board. It has been delivered by ERGOSE to GAIAOSE and its completion is expected. The second contract, signed in 2005, concerns the installation on the lines. Here, information states that the most probable scenario is the completion of the projects within 2021 as there are some “queues” left.

The SKA-OINOI infrastructure upgrade project

This project is planned for the programming period of the NSRF 2021-2027. It is considered by the whole railway family as an absolutely necessary project. In this section, problems have been observed in the infrastructure (below the lines) which makes it almost impossible for heavy trains to pass, while it has steep slopes that prohibit high speeds.

At this time the project is under study. With its maturation and the preparation of the auction documents, the project will be put up for tender.

In addition, we should mention that the undergrounding project in Sepolia, which is a necessary project, also causes problems in the execution of the itineraries to and from Athens. Now the network for a section of 3km is with one line to serve all trains. This stenosis is expected to last for about 2 years.

Then there will be a double underground corridor and gradually by 2024, a quadruple that will be able to adequately serve all routes and their future expected increase.

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