Athens Airport Metro: the supply of 7 new trains that will reduce the time to the airport

Athens Metro: Where does the supply of 7 new trains that will reduce the time to the airport “stick”?

A major tender being promoted by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and Hellenic Metro (formerly Attiko Metro) seems to be in the “air”, at least as far as we know so far, both because of problems in financing and in relation to transport safety.

This is, in particular, the tender for the supply of 7 dual-current trains for Line 3 of the Metro, which are able to run both in the underground section and in the overground section of the line between the Dukissis Plakentias and Airport stations. With the assistance of these new trains, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and Hellenic Metro hope to reduce the distances in the Athens Metro during peak hours and, above all, to shorten the connection time between the port of Piraeus and the Athens airport “El. Venizelos” in Spata.

The seven new trains are planned to complement the existing ones in order to achieve better frequencies on the routes to the Airport. Today, due to the extension of the Metro to Piraeus, they have reached a frequency of 36 minutes. With the addition of the seven new trains, there will be sufficient rolling stock to run the service to the Airport and maintenance can be carried out in an orderly manner.

However, this is … in the plans, as the reality is different. According to the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Chr. Staikouras, for the moment this tender is facing the following main problems. The first of these is the lack of financial resources, as the funds for transport in the new NSRF are quite limited (at €2.2 billion now, compared to €8 billion or more in previous programmes), while extraordinary needs – expenses have also arisen, with the damage caused by the disastrous bad weather in Thessaly, Central Greece and Evia being the most typical.

However, as previously reported by, from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport have proceeded funding procedures, with this action, amounting to 187 million euros, to be included in the NSRF 2021 – 2027. However, it probably needs more time to mature.

Also, as reported by the ministry, the objections of the Central Unit for State Aid (KEMKE) to the financial contribution of the public sector must be overcome because these trains “exit” the suburban network, thus the trans-European network, so to make sure that there is no preferential position of STASY (Fixed Public Transport, which operates the fixed-track means such as Metro, Tram, Electric) over the other users.

Another issue is the specifications of the safety systems. “It is not an easy exercise with a TSO in transition, but they have been initiated,” say the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. As we mentioned, the new trains will be dual-current, so they need safety certification from the OSE and the Railway Regulatory Authority.

The trains are called dual trains as they are able to run with the two different electrification systems both in the underground network of the Metro and in the above-ground network of the Suburban. They will be able to continue from Dukissis Plakentias to Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport since they will be able to be fed by the Prospektiacos lines.

Consequently, they need the green light from the infrastructure manager (OSE) and the competent authority (RAS). However, as we have reported, OSE is in a transformation phase, it has a transitional management, the railway sector is in trouble, and consequently, the procedures are not proceeding at a fast pace. Therefore, the relevant safety certifications are also delayed.

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