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Electric trains to enter service on November 1st for Athens – Thessaloniki line

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TRAINOSE’s electric trains will be able to cover the distance between Athens and Thessaloniki in 3 hours and 20 minutes by Summer 2019. According to well-informed sources of ypodomes.com, the two main factors that will lead to this major development are the completion of all construction projects on the main axis in the next two months and the completion of the signalling systems.

Now, Athens – Thessaloniki corridor has a double electrified line along its length, except for a 52 km long section, between Lianokladi and Domokos. Construction projects for the new double-track railway line are at a very advanced stage, problems with Railway Bridge 26 (as well as with other smaller ones) have been surpassed, and now the target is the completion of all pending works according to schedule.

This means that October 31st is the final date when AKTOR – TERNA – J & P AVAX J/V will have to deliver the project to ERGOSE and, in turn, to deliver the upgraded infrastructure to OSE which is the network operator.

According to the same sources, trial operation of all electrification, signaling and ETCS systems will have also been completed for the soon-to-be released section of Lianokladi – Domokos, replacing the current obsolete single-track line.

Upon the last section’s delivery on November 1st, 2018, electric trains will be able to start for the first time from Piraeus Port to Thessaloniki without the need to change engines on the way. In theory, time distance between the two cities will be reduced to 3 hours and 30 minutes, but for safety reasons, this will not happen, at least until next Summer when all signalling systems will be in full operation, allowing speeds up to 200 km/h.

This project is being carried out by TOMH / Alstom J/V and will have been completed within 8-10 months. The contract regarding ECTS systems’ installation, which has started since 2007, and is being implemented by TERNA / Thales J/V is also under completion.

ETCS (European Train Control System) is ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) equipment, installed both on lines and trains providing alerts on what is happening in front of the trains in order to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of the rolling stock, the tracks, the passengers and the freight.

With the projects’ completion in 2019 and the new speeds of up to 200 km/h on the upgraded corridor, the train will become fully competitive to intercity buses’ and airplanes’ services.

At the same time, by the end of the year, electrification and signaling systems’ installation will be completed on Polykastro – Idomeni section allowing international passenger services  operated by electric trains to reach Thessaloniki in Northern Greece, while with the full integration of the new systems on the upgraded corridor, from Summer 2019 onwards, international services could reache Athens Central Railway Station for the very first time since its operation.

Railway will be this year’s star in Thessaloniki International Fair. It is noteworthy that TRAINOSE has brought an Italian Pendolino train to the exhibition, which will be the country’s first high-speed train and will enter service in 2019.

GAIAOSE will bring its “pride”, an electric locomotive supporting speeds up to 200 km/h, while OSE is expected to bring to the fore the completion of the line, which along with the opening of the country’s railway market, will revive rail transport in our country after many years of decline.

 

Nikos Karagiannis-ypodomes.com

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