In­ter­city train on track for re­turn

Kathimerini English - - Focus - VANGELIS MANDRAVELIS

The In­ter­city rail ser­vice is set to re­turn to Greek tracks in the com­ing weeks, as rail­way op­er­a­tor Train­ose is, ac­cord­ing to sources, plan­ning to re­sume the 4-hour con­nec­tion be­tween Athens and Thes­sa­loniki in a bid to raise its cor­po­rate pro­file and in­crease pas­sen­ger num­bers.

To achieve this, the Ital­ianowned com­pany is plan­ning to have only one stop (in Larissa) on the route be­tween Greece’s two main cities, and per­form the ser­vice with­out an en­gine change.

If the state com­pletes the rail­way elec­tri­fi­ca­tion project for the coun­try’s main line on time, Train­ose will op­er­ate an elec­tri­cally pow­ered trains. Oth­er­wise, it will em­ploy a diesel-pow­ered en­gine through­out the route, ex­pect­ing the in­crease in pas­sen­ger fig­ures to off­set the in­creased cost. That way the one-hour de­lay caused by the cur­rent en­gine switches at Lianok­ladi and Palaio­farsalo will be avoided.

Sources close to Train­ose say the com­pany is mainly tar­get­ting the Thes­sa­loniki mar­ket, and es­pe­cially busi­ness trav­el­ers. The ser­vice will ini­tially op­er­ate on work­ing days only, leav­ing Thes­sa­loniki early in the morn­ing and re­turn­ing to the north­ern port city late at night.

The ser­vice will also aim at restor­ing the im­age of Train­ose, which has re­cently been bat­tered by de­lays and can­ce­la­tions, and of­fer prices ri­val­ing air car­ri­ers.

The In­ter­city Athen­sThes­sa­loniki rail link is set to re­turn in com­ing weeks.

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