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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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AKTOR-TEKAL consortium withdraws from major port project in Thessaloniki

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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ΟΛΘ Λιμάνι Θεσσαλονίκης Γερανογέφυρες

The first withdrawal has been confirmed for the tender process of the largest port project in the Mediterranean, which with 170m euros will complete the 6th Pier of OLTH (i.e. Thessaloniki Port).

According to sources close to the tender, J/V AKTOR-TEKAL withdrew its participation due to “internal issues”. So far (and if we don’t see another withdrawal) the consortia that remain in the competition are:

J/V EIFFAGE-ΤΕΡΝΑ, J/V MYTILINEOS-ROVER MARITIME SL- CH. KONSTANTINIDIS, J/V INTRAKAT-VITTADELLO, ARCHIRODON, J/V AVAX-ΕΤΕRMAR-NV BESIX, ACCIONA CONSTRUCCION

The entries of foreign companies in the project come from Eiffage (France), Vittadello (Italy), Besix (Belgium), Etermar (Portugal) and Acciona (Spain).

A particularly interesting element of the tender, according to a source close to the case, is that up to 6 participants can pass to the second phase. This means that at least one of the above impressive contenders could leave the ‘battle’ prematurely.

The completion of the evaluation of the first stage is expected to take place by next week. Then, OLTH SA is expected to forward to the pre-selected companies the call for submission of binding offers, regarding their participation in the second stage of the tender procedure.

This project is the most important among the mandatory investments undertaken by OLTH SA, according to the Concession Agreement with the Greek State.

A consortium comprised by SALFO-AECOM-SAMARAS & ASSOCIATES is the independent engineer of the project while the project manager is Hill International, with Rogan & Associates in the role of the designer.

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New obstacles for Athens Metro Line 4 tender as both contenders’ appeals are sustained

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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Μετρό Γραμμή 4

A major reversal for the development of Athens Metro Line 4 tender, seems to have happened yesterday.

According to sources of ypodomes.com and the first available information, the two appeals previously filed by the two finalists to the Council of State, were both sustained.

It is reminded that the two contenders are J/V AKTOR-ANSALDOBREDA-HITACHI and J/V AVAX-GHELLA-ALSTOM.

The first interpretation given is that the Council of State, having heard the arguments of both participants, essentially decided to reject the evaluations by the tender committee.

As a result, scenarios are beginning to emerge about the fate of the tender itself, that could lead even to the cancellation of the project while others talk about a decision that needs a deeper consideration.

Nevertheless, it is certain that we are at a crossroads for the sole large-scale project of the country, with a budget of 1.8bn euros that promises to revive the construction market.

According to preliminary estimates, what will be done here is to lose some more time. Sources close to the tender point out that we should remain cautious with this subject, before we say anything.

Three scenarios

However, always according to the same sources, depending on what the decision will be, we are in front of three basic scenarios. The first is to return the tender back to the evaluation stage by the competition committee while the second scenario is the cancellation of the tender altogether.

The first two scenarios are linked as either both contenders could survive or one of them, allowing the tender to go on. In the second scenario, both can be rejected resulting to the whole structure of the tender to collapse.

The third scenario is -even if the appeals have been accepted- for the tender to proceed (it is something we have seen in the past). Out of these three scenarios, the weakest one appears to be the third.

In any case, the tender enters into new adventures and a doubtful future. There are voices suggesting that it needs to stay alive and be completed because 2 years will be lost for a project that has been expected for a long time by the market.

On the other hand, there are other voices that point out that with the tender regarding the precursory being stagnant, perhaps a new tender would give a new impetus to the project.

What is currently being recommended is a careful reading of the Council of State’s decision rationale and the consequent compliance of Attiko Metro.

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Partial undergrounding of Athens Metro Line 1 to be funded by NSRF

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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Συρμός του ΗΣΑΠ στον Πειραιά

The project for the undergrounding of Athens Metro Line 1 section Faliro-Piraeus, as it seems, will proceed with funds from NSRF 2014-2020.

According to information of ypodomes.com, the project’s integration into the current programming period is almost secured and the project will be able to be implemented.

This means that, once it is included in NSRF, its maturation process will run simultaneously with the preparation of its tender documents, in order for the tender to be approved by the Managing Authority. The cost of the project is roughly 100m euros.

In relevant documents from the General Secretariat of Public Investments and NSRF as well as EPDM it is noted that it is a potentially eligible project by the Operational Program YMEPERAA, provided that a corresponding decision is also taken by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.

NSRF inclusion proceeds – The need for the project’s implementation

According to information available to ypodomes.com, at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, the matter is moving forward and the willingness to integrate the project into NSRF 2014-2020 and more specifically in the O.P. YMEPERAA is considered certain.

It should be reminded that the Municipality of Piraeus has put the undergrounding project very high in its agenda and pushed for its implementation as it believes that the project release enough space for the creation of an avenue that can tackle traffic, especially in the summer, to and from the port.

The project involves the undergrounding of the lines immediately after Faliro Station, the construction of a new underground station named Kaminia (at the intersection of Iroon Polytechniou and O. Skilitsi streets) and the elevation of the lines at Piraeus Station Terminal.

A project with long history

Here, we are talking about one of the most classic ‘mock-up’ projects. The discussion for the undergrounding of this section has been around since 2000 as a project combined with the Tram.

Eventually, due to the reactions the tramway changed its original design and was tendered as an independent project (and is expected to be delivered this summer).

After many years and many setbacks, the project has acquired approved environmental licensing which is considered to be a major advantage that could, in theory, lead to its implementation soon, soon, upon its integration to NSRF, satisfying a decades-long request of Piraeus to stop being ‘bisected’.

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