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Railway works from Aegion to Patras become a «Gordian knot»

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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Σιδηροδρομικός Σταθμός Αιγίου

With mutilple issues in the construction sector, the new Infrastructure Minister, Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, will be called upon to take a number of serious decisions.

One of the «time bombs» that he should definitely disarm, or otherwise described, a «Gordian knot» to be solved is the issue of the railway contracts that will bring the train to Patras and more specifically, on Aegion-Patras section.

Infrastructure works are currently running from Aegion to Rio today, while there are three contracts under development that are due to expired by the end of 2023.

If the county fails to meet the above deadline, there will be a serious risk for the reimbursement of all funds received from NSRF for the entire Athens-Patras corridor, back to the EU.

The irony here is that the funding is not the No. 1 problem but the fact that the necessary projects have not yet been auctioned, while we are already in the second half of 2019.

The necessary works

The two contracts from Aegion to Psathopyrgos and from Psathopyrgos to Rio, concern superstructure works, electrification, signaling, train control systems and stations’ construction works.

At this time, the Large-scale Project Envelope matures so as to be approved by DG Regio. Here, even marginally, we can anticipate completion of these projects, by the end of 2023.

But the situation is far more serious regarding the contracting between Rio and Aghios Dionysion, in the centre of Patras. This project has been designed to be fully underground at a length of 5 km.

In fact, the project was announced to be auctioned in early 2019 with an initial cost of 400m euros, likely to double, making it doubtful for the EU to finance it.

Many scientists have previously expressed their opposition to the full undergrounding of the line due to the unstable subsoil that can cause a large financial burden and large technical challenges.

However, what is crucial is that the modern, electric train to reach Patras one way or the other by the end of 2023.

Works on Kiato-Rio railway line

At this time there are three contracts that are underway from Kiato to Rio. The first concerns the «broom contract» from Kiato to Aegion, which has reached its trial phase and is expected, at some point, to enter commercial operation.

Nevertheless, the almost completed double-track line even though will be released with new stations, is not yet electrified. For this project there is a tender in progress since last year and the contract is estimated to be signed over the coming period.

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Master Plan for Athens International Airport, approved

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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Διεθνής Αερολιμένας Αθηνών

The master plan for the long-awaited expansion of Athens International Airport «El. Venizelos» has been approved, according to infrormation of ypodomes.com. This is the first major step for the launch of a project that it is said to reach a budget of 700m euros. The expansion project of AIA will definitely be another major airport project, after those of the 14 regional airports of Fraport Greece and the new airport to be constructed in Kastelli, Crete by TERNA.

More specifically,  the approval has been granted for:

A. The modification of the spatial planning for the construction of a new aiport apron, a new general aviation track and a new building to host and support ground services;

B. The study of the construction of a new taxi rank, northwest of the commercial park.

The new terminal will include several new gates equipped with jetways, ramps, new VIP and lounge areas, shopping and dining areas, etc.

With the above projects an area of 100,000 sq.m. will be added to the facilities of the airport, part of which is the expansion of the satellite station. The goal is for Athens International Airport to be able to handle 30m passengers per year, with a long-term goal to achieve a capacity of 50m passengers per year, by 2040.

Athens Airport has recorded impressive passenger traffic over the past six years, with multiple records mainly due to international flights. For 2019, the annual traffic figures reached 25.5m passengers.

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Bombardier and Alstom believed to be in merger talks

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Εργοστάσιο Alstom

Exploratory discussions are believed to be underway regarding a proposed merger between Bombardier Transportation and Alstom according to a report by Bloomberg on January 21.

Shares in both companies rose on January 22 following the news. Alstom’s share price soared to a 52-week high of €46.42, while Bombardier’s share price reached a peak of $C 1.44 ($US 1.09) before dropping back to close at $C 1.28. However, this represents a small recovery for Bombardier which saw its share price plummet from $C1.79 on January 15 to a low of $C 1.12 on January 17 following its announcement of worse than expected financial performance on January 16.

Bombardier, which is headquartered in Montreal, has gone through a period of restructuring during the last few years, mainly due to problems with its aircraft business. This resulted in it divesting a large part of the aircraft business and selling a 30% stake in its Bombardier Transportation rail division to Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) for $C 1.5bn. The deal was approved by the European Commission (EC) in February 2016.

In 2017, Bombardier started talks with Siemens regarding a possible merger with Siemens Mobility. However, Siemens broke off the talks in order to launch merger discussions with Alstom. Despite reaching agreement in 2018, the Siemens and Alstom merger was quashed by the EC on February 6 2019 on the grounds that the two companies had failed to address its concerns over the potential impact of the deal on competition in the signalling and high-speed rolling stock markets.

It is difficult to see how a merger between Bombardier Transportation, which is headquartered in Berlin, and Paris-based Alstom would succeed when both companies are in the high-speed rail and signalling markets, let alone the commuter train, metro train and light rail markets where they are strong players.

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Bombardier extends London Overground maintenance contract

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Συρμοί Μετρό Λονδίνου

Bombardier has agreed a 10-year extension of its contract with Transport for London (TfL) to maintain the fleet of 54 class 710 Aventra EMUs, which was due to expire in July 2025, to July 2035.

The extended contract is worth an additional £185m.

Maintenance will continue to take place at Bombardier’s Willesden Train Care Depot in North London. The fleet is in daily service on the Gospel Oak – Barking and Watford – London Euston routes.

The contract extension was agreed with TfL on December 18 and announced on January 17.

Source: railjournal.com

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