The government is planning a major reform of the Greek railway system that will fix the chronic problems and dysfunctionality of the past, creating a fast, modern, comfortable and safe railway network that is fully interoperable with those of Europe, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Christos Staikouras said in a statement to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) published on Sunday.
Staikouras said that he had presented a plan for a radical overhaul to the cabinet, which will set up a new railway organisation that will merge OSE and other entities involved in Greek railways into a single body called “Railways of Greece”, along with a strategic plan for growth and investments.
“Railways of Greece, a new national rail entity of our country, will arise through the merging of OSE, ERGOSE and GAIA OSE. It is being created to address chronic problems, speed up the modernisation of infrastructure and services on the national network but also to increase the extroversion of Greek railways, which are entering a new era. With a solid investment plan, the restructuring of the Greek railway is being implemented on the basis of international best practices, with the aim of ensuring a modern, fast and absolutely safe rail network, with full interoperability with the equivalent European networks,” Staikouras said.
“In this context we make issues of hazard management a priority, equipping the Greek railway with the most modern safety systems for managing rail traffic, while we are financing the reorganisation of OSE from the Recovery and Resilience Fund. We are putting the Greek railways on a European track, with additional knowhow, staff, systems and extroverted investments to improve infrastructure and the network, making use of European and national funds. We are working systematically, responsibly and efficiently so that Greek railways are not only once more a vital part of the citizens’ transportation but a viable and crucial branch of the Trans-European Transport Network in Southeast Europe,” he added.
The new railway organisation is expected to begin operating before the end of 2025, initially with the existing staff from the three companies that are to be merged. Additionall new staff with the necessary qualifications will be added, with the total staff eventually exceeding 600, recruited in two stages by mid 2025, while management will be assigned to a private company with proven experience.
The plan also envisages investments amounting to 12 billion euros in the next 20 years to develop a safe, high-speed rail network, with emphasis on freight transport. In the short term, the focus will be on repairing damage caused by Storm Daniel in Central Greece.