A preliminary feasibility study and a successful MoU in the framework of RAIL4SEE led to the implementation of CITY TRAIN, a real project for Thessaloniki’s hub.
Over the last twenty years the citizens of the western suburbs of the metropolitan area of Thessaloniki have been fighting about the upgrade of transport services in West Thessaloniki and its connections with the city center. All local development plans and strategic master plans of the local authorities and entities highlight this need and place special emphasis on the development of fixed railway systems. At the same time, in the Western areas of Thessaloniki numerous rail lines exist, abandoned or not, including the central line connecting the New Railway Station of Thessaloniki and Thessaloniki Port’s with the national borders and with Athens.
Figure 1: Alternative scenarios for the city train
The CITY TRAIN project has been proposed in the framework of RAIL4SEE project as a service that could answer to the request of Western Thessaloniki for better transport connections through maximizing the use of the scattered and currently inactive rail network of the region.
A preliminary feasibility study for a new suburban service was conducted in the framework of 5.2 RAIL4SEE Action.
Figure 2: Photo from the presentation of City Train to the Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks
After implementing Round Tables with stakeholders involved in the transport system (both directly and indirectly) of the hub for views exchange, the need to create a new operating framework for cooperation among stakeholders to facilitate the coordination and the implementation of the project has been made evident and this new approach was suggested to conclude to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among all stakeholders aiming at the realization of “CITY TRAIN”.
The Hellenic Institute of Transport of the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, being a public body under private law with the objective (among others) to support activities related to the planning and development of transport services in Greece, undertook the role of the facilitator of this Memorandum of Understanding signing that was finally, successfully signed on the 26th of June, 2014.
Figure 3: Photo from the presentation of City Train to the Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks
The study was subsequently presented to the Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks and due to the great estimated added value of the project for Thessaloniki’s hub, the total study and the implementation of the project, the CITY TRAIN became part of the national investments’ programme 2014-2020, receiving structural funds of around 10.000.000 €.
Dissemination of the MoU for Thessaloniki’s City Train: