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Germany: DB to order 30 high-speed trains

ypodomes team



German Railway DB train

German Rail (DB) announced on September 20 that it will place an order for 30 high-speed trains and cut the price of inter-city tickets by 10% after the federal government cut VAT on long-distance rail fares from 19% to 7% as part of a broader package of measures to combat climate change.

The additional 300km/h trains will be delivered by the end of 2022, providing 13,000 additional seats per day. Together with the 74 ICE 4 sets already on order, this will expand DB’s ICE fleet from 282 to 386 trains over the next three years.

DB forecasts the reduction in VAT will increase annual ridership on long-distance services by around five million. The cheapest ICE fare will fall to €13.40 with the BahnCard, which DB says is the lowest standard ticket price in real terms since the creation of DB AG in 1994.

The 7% VAT rate will apply to all journeys of more than 50km, a reduction which has been already been applied to shorter-distance rail travel in Germany.

“I’m sure that more attractive prices will trigger more demand,” says DB CEO Dr Richard Lutz. “We will pass on the reduction to our customers and also waive a price increase.”

Under its ‘Strong Rail’ strategy, which was unveiled in June, DB aims to increase long-distance capacity by up to 100% and double passenger numbers to 260 million a year.

The strategy aims to support the federal government’s greenhouse gas reduction targets by stimulating a modal shift of freight and passenger traffic to rail. DB also plans to switch all traction energy to renewable sources by 2038.

Earlier this month DB signed a five-year contract for renewable energy from the Nordsee-Ost wind farm located off the northwest coast of Germany.

The VAT cut is part of a package of measures agreed by Germany’s coalition government on September 20 which will inject €54bn into the fight against climate change by 2023.

The package also includes an extra €2bn in federal funding for regional rail, trials of €365 annual public transport passes, and a federal law to increase aviation taxes.

In June, the Community of Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) called on governments across Europe to end the tax-free status of aviation fuel to promote less polluting forms of transport.

The government’s announcement came as thousands took to the streets in cities across Germany as part of the global climate strike.



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Construction works for E65 Motorway’s northern section to begin in 2021

Νίκος Καραγιάννης



Αυτοκινητόδρομος υπό κατασκευή (ε65)

Construction works for the northern section of Kentriki Odos -aka E65 Motorway- which connects Thessaly with Egnatia Motorway is expected to begin in 2021. With its construction, Epirus acquires easy and safe access to Central Greece. It is reminded that previously, the future of this section was uncertain as it hadn’t secured funding.

The good news came after the meeting betweem the Governor of Thessaly, Mr. Kostas Agorastos, the Minister of Infrastructure, Mr. Kostas Karamanlis and the Secretary General of the Ministry, Mr. George Karagiannis.

“The northern section of the E65 is about to become a reality. All necessary studies and negotiations with the European Commission have been completed. In a short time, the section that connects Trikala, Kalambaka and Meteora with Egnatia Motorway will begin to be implemented. It is a positive development for Thessaly, a development that creates conditions for development throughout the region. The northern section of the motorway will give access to Northern Greece, Epirus and Western Macedonia.

Additionally, it connects two of the largest ports in the country, Volos and Igoumenitsa. This is one of the largest growth projects in the country that changes the map in transport, trade, tourism and agricultural production”, said the Governor of Thessaly after the meeting with the Ministry of Infrastructure.

It is noted that the Governor of Thessaly had a close cooperation with the Ministry of Infrastructure on the issue of E65 Motorway, while with his intervention in the competent directorate of the European Commission DG Regio in cooperation with the Governor of Western Macedonia, Mr. George Kasapidis, but also with his letter to MEP, Mrs. Korina Kretsou asked for an acceleration of the approval procedures for the completion of the road, in its northern part, which is the most difficult.

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

Νίκος Καραγιάννης



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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News in English

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

Νίκος Καραγιάννης



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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