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The Athens-Thessaloniki Route in 3 and a Half Hours by Train

07 June 2014 / 15:06:03  GRReporter
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The Contract for rehabilitation and modernization of the signalling system and radio control in certain sections of the Athens-Thessaloniki-Promahona railway line was approved by the Standing Committee on Production and Trade, according to a report by To Vima newspaper.
Initially, the project’s budget amounted to 52.5 million euro, but after the end of the tender, the agreed price was changed to 41.2 million euro (exclusive of VAT).
The subject of the contract is as follows:
Rehabilitation of the signalling and radio control systems in order to restore their good functioning as well as to modernise them by adding new capabilities and functions.
Installation of fibre optic cable along the route
Protection from copper cable theft
Modernisation of the railway stations between Inoi-Davlia and Domoko-Larissa and more particularly, replacement of the existing commutators

Rehabilitation of the Thessaloniki-Kilkis line in the section between Nea Philadelphia and Galikos. According to the railway company, the project implementation is an absolute must because:
The railway company has the opportunity to get a fully operating signalling system and highest level of security during the movement of trains
In this way, a higher level of flexibility is achieved by reducing occasional delays as the line shall be controlled by the Radio-Control Centres
Also, a higher speed of 200 km per hour can be reached in longer sections of the network (instead of the 160-km limit so far), which will reduce the travel time between Athens and Thessaloniki.
The project comprises two types of activities. The first one is connected with completion of the signalling and radio-control systems in certain sections of the line. The project is part of the Operational Programme “Accessibility Improvement”.
The budget amounts to 35.8 million euro.
The second type of activity comprises rehabilitation of signalling and radio control in sections which were already built but never worked. Their budget is 5.5 million euro, at the expense of the national budget.
Three Contenders
In the tender of 4th Feb 2014, three companies participated: Terna Energiaki, the Tomy-ALSTOM TRANSPORT partnership and Steliu Kunna Ltd., as the price agreed was 41.2 million euro.
The deadline for completing the project is 24 months after signing the contract. The project is the prerequisite for building the ETCS - Level 1 (European Train Control System), a further step for conventional signalling, which by means of the ERTMS (the European Rail Traffic Management System) promises to bring interoperability of the railway network all over Europe.
According to ERGOSE company, the line will be completed in 2017 and will reduce the travel time between Athens and Thessaloniki to 3 and a half hours, which will also result in increasing network capacity.
The rail network signalling has suffered a lot. The company has invested half a billion euro for building up systems that worked for too short a time and were destroyed.
Consequently, saving manpower, which had to come as a result of the new signalling system, was never fulfilled. For every 100 km of the railway, there are 17 employees working instead of 1 per 100 kilometres the way it is in Europe. Those employees are working just like their predecessors a few decades back: they use radios, leaflets and cranks, since the signalling system is not working and the radio-control centres are closed.
According to the railway company’s internal documentation that To Vima has, the companies currently related to Bombardier (ABB, ML Engineering, ADTranz) are responsible for the implementation of 20 contracts for signalling (at the 2009 level of prices) for 283 million euro, whereas Alstom and SASIBE which acquired it at some point, have won 9 contracts for the total amount of 177 million euro.


Tags: Athens Thessaloniki train OSE Greek railways Promahonas
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