Thanos Vourdas, the general secretary of Greece’s infrastructure and transport ministry, announced on Monday that the first express electric train service which will take passengers from Athens to Thessaloniki in under four hours will be launched next Monday, May 20.
The new trains, from the Italian owners of TRAINOSE, Greece’s only train operator, will cover the distance in just three hours and 55 minutes instead of five hours or more, the amount of time the route requires now.
Infrastructure and Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis is expected to present the new electrified double-track railway line, with a total length of 450 kilometers, on Wednesday.
The electric trains will be included on TRAINOSE’s daily schedule, and make only two stops between Athens and Thessaloniki, at Lianokladi and Larissa, approximately in the middle of the route between Greece’s two largest cities.
The service will be initially conducted by three trains and it will offer all the necessary amenities for a comfortable trip, including wifi.
These three trains will be reinforced by an additional two state of the art trains, which are due to arrive from Italy very soon, officials noted. They will be similar to the “Silver Arrow,” a railcar presented at the opening of the Thessaloniki International Fair in 2018.
There are reports in Greek media, however, which claim that the new, totally electrified, line is not completely ready, and it cannot withstand commercial trains at the present.
The same reports accuse the Greek government of trying to rush the launch of the new line to present a ”modernizing” profile of an administration which can finish infrastructure projects on time.
The complete electrification of the rail route between Athens and Thessaloniki has been a goal for decades.
However, the political incompetence of the past and the admittedly tough problems presented by the mountainous Greek terrain, has left this vital infrastructure project lagging behind initial projections.
With information from AMNA