The race is on in the coming months so that the long-suffering project of the Thessaloniki metro will turn a new chapter. The signing in the next few days of the contract for the 15 additional trains, the submission of tenders for the large PPP of the metro operation and the “double” milestone of April for the first train crossing from Venizelos station and the first relocation of antiquities, make for quite a conundrum.

In order for the moment to arrive, when the first train crossing from the Station in Pylaia to the New Railway Station, a real race will have to be run. This means to complete the infrastructure, i.e. the remaining lines in Venizelos station, the electromechanical installations and to electrify the entire line, 9.6 km long, so that the necessary test routes can now be carried out along its entire length. Today, due to the pendency of Venizelos, tests are being carried out up to the Sintrivani. They are reportedly progressing positively, resolving any expected coordination problems between the various systems that arise at this stage.

Let’s not forget that the Thessaloniki metro may have exhausted all the patience of the city’s residents, knowing a proverbial delay of more than 10 years, since its initial completion horizon was 2012, but it will be a pioneer. It will be the first in Greece with 18 initially driverless trains. The signature for the second batch of 15 trains, both for the needs of the main line and the extension to Kalamaria, is on the way. The contractor for the contract, with a budget of 142 million euros, is the AKTOR-Hitachi scheme, the only one that participated in the tender.

As for Venizelos station, where excavation work only started at the beginning of August, there the machines are at full blast. The excavation has been done, reaching 5 meters below the tunnel, the foundations have been made, the slabs have fallen on all floors and an extra wall has been placed on the right and left to support the antiquities.

Attiko Metro’s goal is to finish all stations including Agia Sofia by September and to have only Venizelos to finish by November. The extension to Kalamaria will follow in 2024. In fact, in this period, the tender issues for the expansion ticket are being prepared.

Final stretch for the PPP consignment

Perhaps the most important link in the chain for the operation of the Thessaloniki metro, as the construction part is developing today, is the partnership agreement for the operator. In order for the metro to open its doors to the first passengers, the operator must be in full order.

This of course means that the margins are very narrow, given that it is estimated that it will take about a year to be ready for war.

After three extensions, due to an appeal, the final date for the submission of bids by the interested schemes for the PPP of 292 million euros, with a duration of eleven years, is February 28, 2023. According to information, on the part of Attiko Metro a new extension of the competition is not qualified. It is noted that after the decision of the Council of State on the application for cancellation and suspension submitted by Intrakat against the decision of EADISY, there was a modification in the terms of the tender.

The next expansions

The first extension of the Thessaloniki metro to enter orbit is to the west, in densely populated neighborhoods of the city of about 500,000 inhabitants. It is estimated that this project will create new poles of development in the city. The contract for the preliminary works, which will be undertaken by AKTOR, is expected to be signed in the next period. The project will start from the New Railway Station and with a length of approximately 11 km, in a circular form, it will pass through the following stations: Eptalofos, Menemeni, Kordelio, Evosmos, Ilioupolis, Stavroupolis, Polichni and Neapolis.

“Macedonia” airport will be the next destination of the city’s metro. During this period, the studies (topographical and technical) for all network extensions are being promoted. At the same time, Attiko Metro is preparing the announcement of a new tender by the end of the year for a consultant regarding all the projects of the Thessaloniki metro.

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