...By Gift BADEWO for TDPel Media.
Partial Service Resumes on Main Train Line after Greece’s Worst Rail Disaster
Partial train service resumed on the main train line connecting Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, five weeks after the country’s worst rail disaster that claimed the lives of 57 people.
On February 28, a head-on collision occurred between a freight train and a passenger train carrying over 350 people, including many young students.
The crash has resulted in angry protests and is expected to have a significant impact on the general election in May, where Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is seeking re-election.
Transport Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis travelled on the first train between Athens and Kalambaka on Monday, accompanied by the head of the rail network company and representatives of Hellenic Trains, the privatised train company.
Gerapetritis stated that their goal is to provide a modern rail service that lives up to everyone’s expectations and can develop to be among the best in Europe.
He acknowledged the debt they owe to the victims of the tragic accident whose lives were so unjustly cut short.
The disaster was partially attributed to the stationmaster on duty near the crash site in Tempe, central Greece, but it has also highlighted the government’s delays in modernising rail safety systems.
Mitsotakis acknowledged that the train system was plagued by chronic failings and pledged to install electronic safety systems on the rail network by the end of September if he is re-elected.
The head of OSE, Panagiotis Terezakis, cautioned that overhauling the system would be a long-term undertaking and that these chronic defaults could not be rectified overnight.
Some safety measures have already been put in place, such as slowing down trains, reducing the number of services per day, and increasing station managers and engineers on duty.
Gerapetritis stated that an enormous effort had been made to ensure that all contracts for signals and remote controls are completed on time.
By the end of September, they plan to have a network that meets international standards for passenger protection and is completely safe.
The government is also cooperating with France and Germany to modernise the Greek rail network.
The service shutdowns prompted by the crash have resulted in weeks of disruption.
However, passenger services between Athens and the international airport resumed on March 22, and freight trains between the port of Piraeus and Thessaloniki began running again a week later.
Efforts Underway to Improve Rail Safety in Greece Following Worst Rail Disaster
The recent rail disaster in Greece has triggered significant efforts to improve rail safety in the country.
Partial train service resumed on the main train line linking Athens and Thessaloniki, and the government has implemented several measures to improve rail safety, including the installation of electronic safety systems on the rail network by the end of September.
Transport Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis has been working to reassure passengers and improve rail services in Greece, acknowledging their duty to provide a modern rail service that meets international standards for passenger protection.
The disaster has highlighted the government’s delays in modernising rail safety systems, and Mitsotakis has pledged to overhaul the system if re-elected.
While the efforts to improve rail safety in Greece will take time, the government is cooperating with France and Germany to modernise the Greek rail network.
Despite the weeks of service shutdowns caused by the crash, some passenger services have already resumed, and freight trains have resumed operations between the port of Piraeus and Thessaloniki.
The recent rail disaster has highlighted the importance of prioritising rail safety in Greece and the need for modernisation of rail systems.
The efforts underway will provide passengers with a safer and more reliable rail service in the future.