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Maintenance of the Greek railway network in Infrastructure Ministry’s spotlight

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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A new policy emerges by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in relation with the burning issue of the railway network’s maintenance.

According to secure information, the current situation of the network troubles considerably the administration of the Ministry.

Since the announcement of New Democracy’s program, even before it came to power, the maintenance of the railway infrastructure has been a very central issue on the table, absorbing funds as high as 50m euros per year, for the entirety of the operational network.

This amount could be spent through a long-term contract, ranging between 5 and 10 years, in order to attract specialized companies that could undertake network maintenance.

The aim is for the network to be in such a good condition that will be able to support the movement of high-speed trains, safely. Also, Athens-Thessaloniki itinerary could drop to just 3 hours, following the completion of the necessary signaling systems and security upgrades.

The «British model»

The model that seems to be preferred so far, is the British system with the so-called flying «banana trains» that will be scanning the network every 2-3 months.

They will be recording friction, damages as well as other potential flaws in the infrastructure. The restoration of the problematic sections will be then agreed and relevant works will be proceeding.

This model is considered a modern and cost efficient solution given that in the UK it is widely accepted due to the reduction of the expenditure for maintenance works by tens of millions of pounds yearly, while it maximizes security across the network.

Sources told ypodomes.com that what is most likely is the launch of an SLA Agreement, which based on the specifications set by the Contracting Authority (that is OSE), a level of services will be decided and a maintenance program, which will be executed as mentioned above.

The current situation

The current condition on the railway network is not the best, despite the -admittedly- remarkable effort being made.

Almost on a daily basis, TRAINOSE reports infrastructure and systems’ failures through press releases which issues to inform passengers.

Another point that also needs to be raised is the condition of the railway stations. The central stations of Athens, Thessaloniki, Piraeus and Larissa definitely need to be improved as they are mainly buildings that are in poor condition with common and sanitary areas with many problems and services that are reminiscent of past decades.

The new railway plans are under discussion and decisions are eagerly awaited, with the hope that will determine the future of a means of transport that appears to be regenerating in the recent years.

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First Citadis LRV for Paris T9 inaugurated

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Alstom Tram Citadis

The first Citadis LRV designed and built by Alstom for the Paris light rail Line T9 was inaugurated in Orly on December 3. The vehicle was launched by Ms Valérie Pécresse, president of the Île-de-France region and president of Île-de-France Mobilités, Mr Christian Favier, president of the Departmental Council of Val-de-Marne, Ms Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, and Mr Michel Lepêtre, president of the Grand-Orly Seine Bièvre EPT (Public Territorial Establishment).

Île-de-France Mobilités awarded Alstom a €70m contract in November 2016 to supply 22 Citadis X05 LRVs, which are due to enter service in December 2020 on Line T9 which connects Porte de Choisy to the suburb of Orly. Delivery began in November and will be completed in October 2020.

The 45m-long vehicles can carry up to 314 passengers. The design was created in partnership between Alstom’s design and styling teams and the Design Saguez & Partners agency.

The Citadis LRV has eight double doors on each side along with an enlarged, interior that facilitates movement and speeds up boarding and alighting by 20%. It features 45% glass surfaces, 100% LED lighting, eight multimedia screens displaying a dynamic route map, USB sockets and bench seats.

Alstom says the LRV is also more energy efficient than the previous Citadis LRVs with improved energy consumption linked to the traction and auxiliaries. The overall cost of preventative maintenance has been reduced by 18%, and the materials used are 99% recyclable.

 

Source: railjournal.com

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Athens Metro Line 4: Signing of the «golden» contract approaches

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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Μετροπόντικας κατά την εκσκαφή

A major step regarding the tender for Athens Metro Line 4 is expected in the following days as, according to well-informed sources, Attiko Metro’s BoD will reach a decision for the continuation of the process.

This means that the tender will resume and, for a period of 10 days, the 2 remaining consortia will be able to scrutinize each other’s technical dossiers.

Then, if they wish, they will be able to file appeals against each other for a period of about 30 days, that -once again- could go as high as the Council of State.

This will be the next crucial point for the completion of the tender. Market sources are quite sure that both parties will try in a legal way to disqualify their opponent in order to continue alone in the 1.8bn-euro (incl. VAT) «golden» bids.

«The contract is that big, giving so much business and financial strength to the winner for the next decade, that it will take a battle that may be judged on the most unlikely deficiencies that could be observed in the technical offers», the same sources told ypodomes.com.

A turning point for the tender

In Attiko Metro, however, they do not hide their optimism that, in any case, after a «difficult» 2019 with multiple judicial hurdles, we are finally at the end of the process.

A major goal is for the contract to be signed in 2020, allowing the beginning of the construction phase. For now, there are not any guesses on when exactly we will reach the «point zero» of the tender, which is the day when the bids are going to open.

In the event that both AKTOR-ANSALDOBREDA-HITACHI consortium and AVAX-GHELLA-ALSTOM consortium are still in the race, we will have to wait in order to find out who will become the contractor for the construction of Athens’ new Metro Line 4.

The absolute criterion will be the discount rate. Officials close to the tender believe there won’t be any very big discounts due to the very high budget that increases dramatically the risk.

The «golden» contract will have an initial duration of 96 months, that is, 8 years. The funding of the project will be secured by NSRF 2014-2020 and EIB.

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Battery trains to be tested in Denmark

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Τραίνο που κινείται με μπαταρίες

Suppliers are to be invited to test battery-powered trains on regional lines in late 2020 and early 2021, ahead of a potential order which could see battery trains enter passenger service from 2025.

Under an agreement between the Ministry of Transport & Housing and the Sjælland, Midtjylland and Capital Region authorities, trials are to be undertaken on HL’s Helsingør – Hillerød line north of København and on the Lemvigbanen linking Vemb, Lemvig and Thyborøn in Jylland.

The agreement announced on November 29 follows a study into options for battery operation in northwest Sjælland which was undertaken by the ministry, national operator DSB and Movia.

This analysis found that the Holbæk – Nykøbing Sjælland local line would be suitable for battery operation, with the need to replace the current diesel trains in around 2025 providing an economically sensible time to switch. Battery trains could also be used on the Kalundborg – København route, with co-ordination allowing the provision of though services between Nykøbing Sjælland and København.

‘A test of battery trains in Denmark will provide the parties with useful experience from practical operation before we potentially place an order’, explained Transport Minister Benny Engelbrecht. ‘At the same time, it will allow passengers to try battery trains in everyday life. My hope is that from the mid-2020s we will see battery trains in daily operation.’

Source: railwaygazette.com

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