It took 9 whole years to see the train “whistling” again in the prefectures of Western Korinthia and Achaia and a total of 14 years since the first upgrade works began. It was June 2006, when the opening of the new double-track railway line to Corinth shutted down the rest of the metric line to Rio, in order for upgrade works to start.
Since then, the reopening of the train line -at least up to Aigio which was the first large section- had been announced several times. The contracts of 2007 started but were not fullfilled, prompting ERGOSE to proceed to a so-called “sweep contract” in 2013 so that the project could be completed.
From the tendering process the contract of the 273m-euro worth project was awarded to the J/V METKA-XANTHAKIS-THALES with a discount of 48.86%. On September 11, 2014 the construction contract was signed with an initial completion schedule of 24 months.
The railway line was finally inaugurated on July 14 2020 by the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Kostas Karamanlis, who referred extensively to the history of the project, saying that the current government received it with several problems and delays, while pledging to start immediately road accessibility projects to the stations.
For his part, Panagiotis Gardelinos, General Manager of Infrastructure Projects at Mytilineos, noted: “Today we are doubly proud because we deliver a project of sustainable development and friendly to the environment. I am proud of this project, we undertook it in 2014 in the midst of the crisis and today the line is delivered to operation on time after a period of more than 10 years”.
Referring to the Minister, he said that after the institutional interventions, the projects will be at the center of the country’s growth course. He also spoke about the new operational unit of Mytilineos that is moving on the axis of sustainable development projects.
The new Kiato-Aigio line
The new double-track railway line can develop speeds of up to 200km/h in places. At present the new line doesn’t have electrification and the relevant contract is expected to be signed soon (with the contractor again being Mytilineos) and by 2022 to be completed.
In a total of 71 km, there are 3 Stations (Xylokastro, Akrata and Aigio) and 6 stops (Diminio, Lykoporia, Lygia, Platanos, Diakopto and Eliki), while the train is connected to Rack Railway Diakopto-Kalavrita.
Due to the absence of electrification, the route “breaks” in two. The train starts from Piraeus with the electric Desiro trains and as soon as it arrives in Kiato, it waits for the diesel Rail Bus.
From there passengers switch to the new train and after 5-6 minutes it starts the second part of the itinerary to Aigio. The opposite procedure is followed with the directio to Athens, There will also be a connection with “Eleftherios Venizelos” International Airport in Athens, with three routes
In its final form, the intercity electric train will reach the center and the port of Patras with undergrounded 5.1 km in a total time of 110 minutes, i.e. in 1 hour and 40 minutes (on express routes).