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Transnational “Sea2Sea” mega railway project to be signed in Spring 2018

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The developments on the important transnational project “Sea2Sea”, concerning the upgrade of the railway line, connecting Thessaloniki-Kavala-Alexandroupolis-Ormenio with the Bulgarian ports of Burgas, Varna and the river delta of Danube, are well known by now. Following the “tweets” of the European Commission’s President, J.C. Juncker, who verified the European support, the project was put in the spotlight of the meeting between the Prime Ministers of Greece and Bulgaria, i.e. A. Tsipras and M. Borisov.

According to well-informed sources of Ypodomes.com, the meeting was held in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport with the participation of officials from both countries. The meeting was headed by the General Secretary of Infrastructure and Transport, Thanos Bourdas along with ERGOSE’s Chief Executive Officer, Christos Dionellis, the Diplomatic Advisor of the Ministry of Infrastructure and another official  from the Greek Ministry specialized in railway matters. From the Bulgarian side, there was Christo Alexiyev, who is the head of the Bulgarian Railways (has also served as a Minister of Transport for 9 months in the past), accompanied by a working group from the neighboring country.

It was decided that the next meeting will be held in Sofia, in early November in order for the procedures to be accelerated, as it has been promised by the Infrastructure Ministers of Greece and Bulgaria, in order for the project to proceed in Spring 2018, through the completion of the first strategic step which would be the finalization of the implemeting company’s legal status.

In the meantime, the interested parties will gather, in co-operation with the European Commission, all necessary data on how Rail Baltica (the respective railway project that connected Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) was set up and operated so that they can simply follow its steps avoiding further delays. From the Greek side, according to Ypodomes.com report, electrification works from Thessaloniki to Alexandroupolis and Ormenio section will be also prioritized in order to allow the line to accommodate more trains per hour and increase its hourly capacity when it comes to containers and cargo.

It is noteworthy that related studies and works, according to ERGOSE, in the Greek side will be carried out by the company, which will continue playing a strategic role in this project. As it is pointed out, ERGOSE follows a more “extrovert” policy with increasing presence in projects that are either exlusively abroad (e.g. Montenegro) or other transnational projects (such as the planned Florina-Kastoria-Pogradec line).

The challenge for the Greek side remains the implementation and upgrade of the Eastern “Railway Egnatia”, costing approximately 2.5nbn euros, of which 1.7bn concerns the construction of the new “coastal” line design, electrified for the whole Thessaloniki-Kavala-Xanthi section, which promises to reduce the journey time by about 3 hours as well as the upgrade and electrification of Xanthi-Alexandroupoli-Ormenio section.

 

Nikos Karagiannis-ypodomes.com

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