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Thessaloniki Metro: Technical solution for Venizelou Station, officialized

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Συρμός του Μετρό Θεσσαλονίκης

Infrastructure Ministry’s decision has become official, regarding the change of the technical solution for Venizelou Station of Thessaloniki Metro, which has been under construction for 13.5 years.

According to information of ypodomes.com, on November 13, Attiko Metro approved the temporary removal and repositioning (at a later stage) of antiquities found on-site, for the completion of the station.

This decision allows the construction to proceed, with the “assistance” of an additional contract. Another move made by Attiko Metro was to proceed with a contract to further investigate the effects that might be caused during construction, by selective preservation of antiquities, and the potential risks during the excavation works and the installation of temporary support.

The target is that within three months after the signing of the contract, that is on February 13 2020, for the investigation to be completed and then the Attiko Metro administration to finalize its decision on the construction method and order the contractor accordingly.

It is reminded that the change in the construction method was announced last September by the Prime Minister during Thessaloniki International Fair 2019.

The target date for the operation of the Metro has been postponed for April 2023, while Kalamaria Branch is also expected to be commissioned in the same year.

On the construction side, according to contractor’s sources, even if there wasn’t the setback at Venizelos station, the Main Line could not operate before the end of 2022.

The progress of the works at Venizelou Station, once they start in 2020, will essentially decide whether the city’s Metro project will finally be operational in April 2023, nearly 17 years after the beginning of the constuction phase.

In terms of construction after several months of disruption, the projects seems to be finding a satisfying pace. Next steps are the arrival of more trains and the launch of test runs in the first quarter of 2020.

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Double-track railway line between Kiato and Aigio in commercial operation

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It took 9 whole years to see the train “whistling” again in the prefectures of Western Korinthia and Achaia and a total of 14 years since the first upgrade works began. It was June 2006, when the opening of the new double-track railway line to Corinth shutted down the rest of the metric line to Rio, in order for upgrade works to start.

Since then, the reopening of the train line -at least up to Aigio which was the first large section- had been announced several times. The contracts of 2007 started but were not fullfilled, prompting ERGOSE to proceed to a so-called “sweep contract” in 2013 so that the project could be completed.

From the tendering process the contract of the 273m-euro worth project was awarded to the J/V METKA-XANTHAKIS-THALES with a discount of 48.86%. On September 11, 2014 the construction contract was signed with an initial completion schedule of 24 months.

The inauguration

The railway line was finally inaugurated on July 14 2020 by the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Kostas Karamanlis, who referred extensively to the history of the project, saying that the current government received it with several problems and delays, while pledging to start immediately road accessibility projects to the stations.

For his part, Panagiotis Gardelinos, General Manager of Infrastructure Projects at Mytilineos, noted: “Today we are doubly proud because we deliver a project of sustainable development and friendly to the environment. I am proud of this project, we undertook it in 2014 in the midst of the crisis and today the line is delivered to operation on time after a period of more than 10 years”.

Referring to the Minister, he said that after the institutional interventions, the projects will be at the center of the country’s growth course. He also spoke about the new operational unit of Mytilineos that is moving on the axis of sustainable development projects.

The new Kiato-Aigio line

The new double-track railway line can develop speeds of up to 200km/h in places. At present the new line doesn’t have electrification and the relevant contract is expected to be signed soon (with the contractor again being Mytilineos) and by 2022 to be completed.

In a total of 71 km, there are 3 Stations (Xylokastro, Akrata and Aigio) and 6 stops (Diminio, Lykoporia, Lygia, Platanos, Diakopto and Eliki), while the train is connected to Rack Railway Diakopto-Kalavrita.

Due to the absence of electrification, the route “breaks” in two. The train starts from Piraeus with the electric Desiro trains and as soon as it arrives in Kiato, it waits for the diesel Rail Bus.

From there passengers switch to the new train and after 5-6 minutes it starts the second part of the itinerary to Aigio. The opposite procedure is followed with the directio to Athens, There will also be a connection with “Eleftherios Venizelos” International Airport in Athens, with three routes

In its final form, the intercity electric train will reach the center and the port of Patras with undergrounded 5.1 km in a total time of 110 minutes, i.e. in 1 hour and 40 minutes (on express routes).

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Eurostar looks to cut costs with reduced hours and part-time working

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Eurostar is looking to reduce its payroll costs through the introduction of reduced hours and more part-time working ‘wherever possible throughout 2021’, in a move which the cross-Channel high speed operator said was intended to protect jobs at a time when ‘the impact of Covid-19 has led to an unprecedented fall in demand across the travel industry’.

The operator said its aim is ‘to protect as many jobs as possible and retain the knowledge, skills and experience of our people for the recovery, keeping any potential redundancy to a minimum’.

The RMT trade union said the cuts amount to a 20%‎ reduction in costs, and would ‘hit Kent and the stations at Ebbsfleet and Ashford particularly hard’.

Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Lynch called for the government to provide support and ‘to recognise the long term importance to the British economy of these cross-Channel transport services as we look to the future’, saying ‘short-term cuts would have dire long-term consequences’.

Manuel Cortes, General Secretary of the TSSA trade union which has members in clerical, administrative, supervisory and managerial roles, said the union was seeking to ‘work constructively’ with Eurostar and the government to protect ‘jobs and the future of this vital service’.

The UK sold its stake in Eurostar in 2015, but Cortes called on the government to act, saying ‘the French and Belgian governments continue to own their share of this company and will no doubt intervene to save jobs in their countries. Our government must step up to do likewise.’

Source: railwaygazette.com

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

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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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