Train Services in Greece Resume: What Passengers Should Know
Greek authorities announced on Tuesday that intercity and suburban (proastiakos) train services will resume starting tomorrow March 22 with a set of safety measures.
These will be the first train services after the head-on collision of two trains in Tempi, Central Greece, which killed 57 people on February 28.
As part of efforts to restore confidence in the country’s railway services, the Railway Safety Coordinating Center announced measures which include trains running at different times in the night to ensure no simultaneous crossings along single track lines.
There will be two stationmasters assigned on all intercity train and suburban train routes, two train drivers and at least one attendant.
The committee also examined the issue of fire safety and fire detection in tunnels, radio communications and lighting.
Meanwhile, works are being carried out to install or complete the remote signaling system along the main rail axis that would have prevented the train collision, the deadliest in Greece’s history, had it been in place.
A tender will be announced for the redevelopment and maintenance of the railway tunnels.
The speed limits applicable to sections with no signaling have been lowered to 80km for suburban and freight trains and 100km for passenger trains.
Among others, the committee said it had decided to carry out regular preparedness drills with a set of emergency response scenarios including the participation of the police, the fire brigade and the National Center for Emergency Assistance (EKAV).
Hellenic Train, the Italian owners of the railway, announced that it was installing recorders on trains to document cabin communications between drivers and OSE traffic staff such as stationmasters, traffic controllers and remote controllers.
Routes starting in Greece on March 22
These are the train routes starting in Greece on Wednesday, March 22:
– Piraeus –Kantza – Athens Airport – Liosia – Ηalkida (Suburban Train)
– Diakofto – Kalavryta
– Patra – Rio (Suburban Train)
The main Thessaloniki-Athens route is set to resume next month while freight trains will also begin routes on Wednesday.
Government aiming to restore confidence in railway system
The aim is to have railway services fully running by Easter in mid-April, said Transport Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis.
The Greek government is making efforts to restore confidence in the railway system amid ongoing angered protests. Last week, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis pledged to make changes to a system that “hurts” and to ensure that what happened in Tempi, will “never happen again”.
Earlier this month, Gerapetritis admitted that “had a complete remote surveillance and signaling system been in place, the accident would not have happened”. An investigation into the causes of the fatal crash are ongoing.
Greek national passenger and freight train operator TrainOSE was sold off in 2017 to Italian state railway group Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) Italiane for a sum of 45 million euros and renamed Hellenic Train SA last year.
The two trains – a cargo and passenger train – traveling from Athens to Thessaloniki along the country’s main railway collided on February 28 near Larisa.