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Plans for road connection between Elliniko and Athens International Airport via Argyroupolis Tunnel

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The connection of Elliniko area to Athens Airport, El. Venizelos, via Argyroupolis Tunnel is now under consideration. According to information of ypodomes.com, a crucial step was taken last Friday, when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

In the cooperation framework, decisions were made regarding the procedures for determining the evaluation criteria -and their weight- as well as the procedure for the evaluation of Attica’s road axes to be implemented in the next period, which appear to be finalized within the basic scenario.

The document that has been composed by a joint working group highlights the willingness of the Ministries to cooperate on the activation and alignment with Attica’s Regulatory Plan, following what was said at the joint meeting between the Secretary Generals.

Attiki Motorway extension and other road projects

According to the same sources, issues are also being discussed, at a Secretary Generals’ level, regarding major structural intervention projects, both concerning Attica’s Regulatory Plan and the plans of Infrastructure and Transport Ministry for the extension of Kymis Ave., the extension to Rafina (via the Airport), Ilioupolis Urban Tunnel (completion of Athens Intermediate Ring Road), Salamina-Perama underwater Road Link, etc. as well as their relevance to the development of fixed-track networks (i.e. Metro, Light Metro or Tramway and Suburban Railway), as it is provided in the ARP.

The cooperation axes include the exploration of solutions for road inteconnection of Elliniko area and Athens International Airport «Eleftherios Venizelos». The finalization of the investment in Elliniko plays a crucial role in connecting the area with the Airport and could even be considered necessary if one considers the traffic load that will be developed in the area upon the projects’ completion.

Of course, this would not -automatically- mean qualifying Argyroupolis Tunnel (in whatever form it’s decided), for implementation. As the same sources point out at ypodomes.com, there are 6 basic scenarios on how this connection could be made, ranging from having a road tunnel, a train tunnel (Metro or railway), alternative routes (via Vari-Koropi road axis) and more.

What is of value at the moment is that a scenario that was introduced in 2009, i.e. Argyroupolis Tunnel, is re-activated and it is no longer confined to the consideration of road interconnection only, but within a holistic approach and with full respect for the Regulatory Plan of Attica region (in order to avoid adventures in the Council of State).

The apparent shifting of interest towards fixed-track projects from clasic roads may eventually bring to the surface a dual project or the dominance of the fixed-track means of transport.

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News in English

European Commission remarks on delayed tenders of Greek major projects

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Σήραγγα Μετρό με ράγες

Several tenders concerning major projects, among which Athens Metro Line 4, Patras-Pyrgos and Amvrakia Motorways, and the renewal of the Athens and Thessaloniki buses fleet are now… officialy running late according to the European Commission.

More pecifically in the «Transport and Logistics» section of the Commission’s report, it is noted that there are still significant delays in new projects, which makes the absorption of European funds difficult. There are also comments regarding the excessive discounts (which ypodomes.com has been commenting on for at least 3 years) and the lack of capacity on the part of the contractors.

The report also focuses on the urgent need of Greece to start working on sustainable urban mobility plans, as they are a prerequisite for investments in urban transport centers.

Additionally, it is noted that there is not any progress so far on the accessibility of Thessaloniki port. According to the comments, while the recenly privatized port has great potential as a gateway to the Balkans and Eastern Europe,, its operation is seriously hampered by poor or non-existent rail and road connections.

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US hydrogen train contract awarded

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Τραίνο υδρογόνου Stadler

Southern California’s San Bernardino County Transportation Authority has awarded Stadler a contract to supply a Flirt H2 hydrogen fuel cell powered multiple-unit to enter passenger service in 2024, with an option for a further four units.

Stadler said the contract announced on November 14 was ‘a major milestone in bringing zero-emission passenger rail technology to the USA’.

The Flirt H2 unit will have two cars with a total of 108 seats and ‘generous’ standing room, plus a central power module holding the fuel cells and the hydrogen tanks. It will have a maximum speed of 79 mile/h (127 km/h), the federal limit above which additional signalling systems are required.

It is to be deployed on the Redlands Passenger Rail Project, a 14·5 km passenger service which is being developed on a former Santa Fe freight railway alignment between the University of Redlands and the Metrolink commuter rail station in San Bernardino.

In 2017 SBCTA ordered three diesel-electric Flirt units for the line, which is currently being built by Flatiron Construction Corp. The ‘Arrow’ branded service is expected to launch in late 2021.

The order for a hydrogen unit ‘is an excellent example of how we are demonstrating our commitment to the next generation’, said SBCTA President Darcy McNaboe. ‘The hydrogen Flirt will help us address the commuting needs of today while preserving our environment for a better tomorrow.’

‘Stadler is committed to designing and building green technology for the transportation industry’, added Martin Ritter, CEO of Stadler US Inc. ‘We have an excellent relationship with SBCTA, and it is a great honour to partner with them to bring the first hydrogen-powered train to the USA.’

Source: railwaygazette.com

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German parliament approves €86bn investment plan

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German Railway DB train

The German parliament approved a €86bn budget for investment in the country’s rail infrastructure under the LuFV III performance and financing agreement for 2020-2029 on November 15.

This follows an agreement reached on the budget between German Rail (DB) and the Federal Ministry of Transport (BMVI) in July. However, the federal government contribution’s to LuFV III has been reduced from €62bn to €51.4bn with national rail infrastructure manager DB Network responsible for most of the remaining investment.

The new LuFV III represents a 41% increase in spending over the previous LuFV II which ends this year. Under the new arrangements government funding for infrastructure will be around €5.6bn in 2025-2029 compared with around €3.5bn for the last five years.

Following recent criticism from the Federal Court of Auditors, DB’s access to the funds will be in tranches and funds from 2025 may be withheld if agreed objectives and controls are not met, although political agreement on how this will be achieved has yet to be reached. BMVI will be required to report every two years on progress versus targets for the rail investment programme and the Federal Court of Auditors is expected to play a greater role in ensuring DB budget control and project delivery targets are met.

Much of the funds will be spent on improving the overall state of repair of the rail network, which the German parliament said earlier this month totalled €49bn. The money will also be used to increase capacity at congested pinch points on the network to enable the introduction of the planned regular interval timetable from 2030.

Under scrutiny

DB is a key beneficiary of the federal government’s climate protection package, announced in late September. This will add another €20bn in rail investment up to 2030 with a capital injection into DB of €11bn planned in stages over the next decade. This will provide DB with significant additional capital, reducing the short term need to raise finance through borrowing or the sale of subsidiaries such as Arriva, which has been put on ice as all the offers received were below the book value of the company.

However, lobbyists representing DB’s passenger and freight competitors have raised significant concerns over the government’s decision to channel climate-protection spending solely into DB, as they fear unfair cross subsidy to DB’s freight and other services plus non-transparent prioritisation of investment to suit DB rather than the overall market. Legal advice obtained by opponents of the proposed capital increase for DB suggests it could be illegal under European law as it constitutes state aid to a state-owned company.

Source: railjournal.com

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