Although delays continue, Greece is taking steps to upgrade its national railway system, which still falls short of European Union standards.
As of September 5, travel between Athens and Thessaloniki by rail takes just four hours and fifteen minutes, thanks to the two new state-of-the-art trains launched by OSE, the Hellenic Railways Association.
These trains are part and parcel of OSE’s long-term modernization plans. The trains will be air-conditioned and will travel at 200 kilometers per hour.
Transport Minister Michalis Liapis said that by 2010 the journey time would be slashed to about three hours as the train network switches to electric-powered.
As well, the launch last month of the suburban railway line between Athens and Corinth, in the Peloponnese, will further reinforce the image of trains as a reliable means of transport.
There is little doubt that a suburban railway network connecting the Greek capital to Corinth and Halkida on the island of Evia, northeast of Athens, will help boost economic growth in these two regions. It could also be a catalyst for housing development shifts that could change the face of the Attica basin, which currently hosts about half of the country’s population.