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Two new stations in Athens Suburban Railway network – More major projects to commence soon

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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Two new stations are planned to be added in Athens Suburban Railway network according to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. Based on an update made yesterday during the first official electrified train journey from Athens to Thessaloniki, these will be: Kryoneri, serving Athens-Chalkida line and Gerakas on the line towards Athens International Airport.

For Kryoneri station, the study has been completed while the project’s auction is being prepared with 1m euros. Its completion is estimated within a time frame of 18 months. Regarding Gerakas, although it was originally planned to be built in 2004, the project was forgotten. The construction of the station is considered to be easy as the tracks can be shifted without the need to suspend train traffic.

In addition, there is provision for more major upgrade projects in the Suburban Railway network that will also have a positive effect on intercity services. The most important of all is the completion of Athens Central Railway Station, a project which is expected to start in the Summer with a «sweep» contract of 80m euros. It includes the completion of the construction of the remaining platforms, the underground connection of the Railway Station to the Metro and additional, pending works. The aforemnetioned projects are set to be completed in36 months.

At the same time, the project for the Sepolia Underground Railway Tunnel is underway. It concerns the undergrounding of the railway line on Athens Central R.S. – 3 Bridges Interchange section, with a quadraple-track tunnel, offering adequate capacity for both suburban and intercity trains. Both projects (i.e. Athens Central Railway Station and Sepolia Tunnel) are expected to be completed almost simultaneously, around 2023.

As noted by the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Mr. Christos Spirtzis, a wide restructuring of urban services for Metro and buses has been requested. For Attica region, the Minister characterized Sepolia Tunnel as a particularly important project, as well as a new tunnel with a length of 800 m. in Menidi, aiming to end the isolation of the area from the rest of Athens while it will be serving freight transport, and will complete projects concerning 3 «blind» lines since 2001.

The relevant study has been completed while the application for the project’s financing is also ready.

For the undergrounding of the railway line in Sepolia area, he commented that atechnical solution has been found for the uninhinited operation of the existing, double-track line throughout the project, as the design so far was the operation of a single-track line, which would cause significant delays.

 

Nikos Karagiannis-ypodomes.com

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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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Electrification goes live in northern Portugal

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Σιδηροδρομικός σταθμός με ηλεκτροκινούμενες γραμμές

Prime Minister António Costa and Housing & Infrastructure Minister Pedro Nuno Santos attended ceremonies on July 16 to mark completion of two electrification schemes on routes north of Porto. Both projects are part of the government’s Ferrovia 2020 investment plan.

A 14·2 km section of the Porto – Pocinho Douro Valley line has been wired at 25 kV 50 Hz between Caíde and Marco de Canaveses at a cost of €10·5m.

This will enable the Porto suburban network to be extended as far as Marco de Canaveses. Electrification of the rest of the line has been proposed, but for now passengers continuing up the valley on the popular tourist route towards Régua and Pocinho will need to change to connecting DMU services at Marco de Canaveses.

A 44 km section of the Minho line between Nine and Viana do Castelo has also gone live. This forms part of a wider upgrading of the Porto – Vigo route which crosses into Spain. Electrification has been undertaken at a cost of €16·5m and paves the way for direct inter-city trains between Viana do Castelo and Lisboa.

Regional services to and from Porto are to be accelerated by around 12 min, while the Porto – Vigo journey time is expected to fall by around 10 min thanks to investment in track renewals and resignalling. This is also intended to allow 750 m long freight trains to use the route.

Electrification work is already underway over the 48 km between Viana do Castelo and Valença on the border with Spain.

 

Source: railwaygazette.com

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Crete: Proposal for the introduction of electrified railway, under consideration

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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Σιδηροδρομικός σταθμός με ηλεκτροκινούμενες γραμμές

For the very first time in the modern history of Crete, the discussion for the development of a railway that will reinforce transports in the island, linking its main cities, begins in the form of studies.

During a meeting of the Environmental Committee of the Region of Crete, held yesterday, the proposal for the introduction of a railway axis on the island was examined. The proposal was made by the Deputy Regional Chief for the Environment, Mr. Nikos Kalogeris, who noted that he intends to start a relevant survey (apparently icluding viability and cost efficiency studies) for a fixed-track, electrified means of transport, running along Crete  island.

The construction of a railway in Crete has been a long-standing issue, as the relevant conversation has begun since 1880, without ever being able to proceed. From time to time proposals have been presented, that always ended up in the drawers of ministries and local authorities.

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