TΗESSALONIKI METRO: “The Metro in our City”

Mr. Mylopoulos made the following statements:

“By the end of 2020, the city of Thessaloniki will have a Metro network extending from Nea Elvetia to the New Railway Station”.

“Now that the Project is back on track, we are ready to introduce the children of Thessaloniki, our future Metro commuters, in the new culture of the fixed transportation mode”.

Greeting speech addressed by the Chairman of ATTIKO METRO S.A., Professor Yannis Mylopoulos, in the one-day conference for the commencement of the training program entitled

“The Metro in our City”

Thessaloniki, 10.11.2018

“Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

As you all know, in two years’ time, in 2020, the city of Thessaloniki will enjoy the Metro network services. The day before yesterday, during the inauguration of an underground passage in the area of Menemeni, Mr. Christos Spirtzis, Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, announced that by the end of 2020, Thessaloniki Metro will have been commissioned from Nea Elvetia to the New Railway Station.

Dear friends, as you all know, the Metro project had become a never ending project. Its commencement was wrong in every aspect: it started in 1986-1987 as the “Kouvela’s hole”; any  attempts to put the project into tender in the 90’s have been proven to be unsuccessful and it was only in 2006 when Thessaloniki Metro was finally tendered as a public, co-funded project, upon implementation of the correct procedure.

The execution of this Project faced many problems. In 2012, when the Project should have already been completed, it counted five years of delay, while in 2014 construction activities stopped. In March 2016, when the new management of ATTIKO METRO S.A. assumed its duties, Mr. Theodoros Papadopoulos, Managing Director, who is present in this event, and I, Chairman of the Company, managed to launch the Project activities anew; note that, by that time, the completion percentage of all works reached just 37%. So, we started again by a new Time Schedule, our aim being to complete the Project by 2020. However, in 2016, when we assumed our duties, the level of maturity of the Project and the uncertainties that already existed, i.e. problems and entanglements in judicial, technical and administrative terms which had been left unsolved by the previous Management, obstructed us from providing a clear and specific Time Schedule. Therefore, at first, we tried to be on “the safe side” and we decided to deliver the section of the Project up to SINTRIVANI Station in 2020 – which was feasible in terms of planning and something that we could promise when we started the Project in 2016 – and then we could deliver the remaining of the Project. However, from 2016 until the present date, in a 2.5-year period, the progress of the Project was impressive. Works completion rate back then was just at 37%, and today 67% of construction activities have been completed; in other words, in just 2.5 years the Project progressed by 30%, while in 10 years (2006-2016) it has progressed by 37%. Thus, you understand that progress was indeed immense, we have completed tunnel boring activities in the Base Line and in Kalamaria Extension, and we have placed the orders for trains and E/M systems.

As Mr. Spirtzis announced the day before yesterday, we are now more confident and ready to plan and deliver the entire Metro line from Nea Elvetia to the New Railway Station by the end of 2020.

Thus, this time next year the entire Thessaloniki Metro line will be put into trial operation and, at the end of 2020, the city of Thessaloniki will enjoy a Metro network starting from Nea Elvetia to terminate at the New Railway Station.

Meanwhile, as you know, we have already started to plan the extensions both to the west and to the Airport. ATTIKO METRO S.A. is preparing the tender for the preliminary works of the Metro Line Extension, involving the execution of archaeological works, which are usually time-consuming activities. As you can imagine, the reason we are starting by the preliminary works is to exclude extended delays that Metro construction may encounter.

The city of Thessaloniki finally changes. We have come to a point where two Metro lines, the Base Line and the Extension to Kalamaria, are under construction, and two Metro extensions, to the west suburbs of Thessaloniki and to the east up to Airport, are under the planning process, all at the same time.

A great deal of water has flowed under the bridge” since the beginning of the Project, or, to put it in another way, the Metro Project is back on track. We are now ready to introduce the citizens of Thessaloniki, future Metro commuters, pupils and our children in the Metro system structure and familiarize them with its use.

ATTIKO METRO S.A. executives who are here today will present to you the special training program that they have prepared. It is an innovative program for pupils, which actually helps children to understand what the Metro is, how it is designed, how it is constructed, and how complex it is. It also introduces them in a new culture of how to use an underground fixed transportation mode unknown until today to the citizens of Thessaloniki.

At this point, let me give my warm thanks to the Children’s Museum of Thessaloniki, which embraced our idea and agreed to pass it on the schools of Thessaloniki, taking it from ATTIKO METRO S.A. and actually spreading it into the entire society of this city. I hereby wish to thank the Municipality of Thessaloniki and especially Mr. Costas Tsiapakidis, Director of Municipal Community D’, for the hospitality he extended to us. The Municipality of Thessaloniki generously embraced our idea and, even the more so, its symbolic meaning that, although Metro is now planning the new westbound and eastbound lines, it does not forget the district of Toumba, a very lively and large community where the heart of Thessaloniki beats. Rest assured that Toumba will definitely be included in the future Thessaloniki Metro extensions.

With these few words, I would like to thank you all for being here today, to thank the children who will participate in the Metro training program, the people who extended their hospitality to us and, of course, ATTIKO METRO S.A. executives who have planned this excellent and innovative program. My wish is for us all, our children and their children, to be here at the end of 2020 to embark on a journey by the Thessaloniki Metro System.

Thank you very much.”

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