Greek trains will restart operations gradually as of March 22, 2023 the Greek government announced on Tuesday.
Train operations will begin with the suburban railroad lines (Proastiakos) between Piraeus, Athens, and the International Airport, the freight trains between Athens and Thessaloniki, and specific local lines in Greece such as the Athens-Halkida line.
The Athens-Thessaloniki Intercity passenger line – where the train collision occurred on February 28 that cost the lives of 57 people – will restart operating on April 1.
Among the announced measures is that speed upper limit is 80 km/h for freight trains and 100 km/h for passenger trains.
“Restarting the railroad is necessary to restore the public’s trust,” said state Minister in charge of railways Giorgos Gerapetritis. “In addition, the delay of a restart, even on a limited schedule, contains serious dangers of theft and/or sabotage. Finally, there is a most serious problem in commercial transport to neighboring countries.”
He announced a legislation with severe punishment for those stealing material from the railway system (mostly cooper and cables) and for those buying it in bulk.
The minister said that restarting the system after a long break required inspecting the infrastructure for rust, obstascles, breaks, and land subsidence, among others.
The inspection of lines will require around 4 days, he added, while the gradual restart of operations throughout Greece will be carried out in five phases, with each phase rolling out every five days as of March 22.
The announcements came after a meeting earlier in the day between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the heads of the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE), rail infrastructure management company ErgOSE, and train service providers Hellenic Train about restarting the railway system that has been suspended since the accident.