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The Proastiakos (Greek: Προαστιακός; "suburban") is Greece's Suburban Railway (S-Bahn like) services, which are run by TrainOSE, on infrastructure owned by the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE). These services connect a city's Central railway station to its suburbs and important locations such as the city's airport and port.
|Locale||Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras|
|Ridership||10.1 million (2020)|
As of September 2020, there are three Proastiakos networks, serving the country's three largest cities: Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras, providing them with commuter rail links towards their suburbs and also with regional services to other cities and towns. In 2016, the three systems carried 10.1 million passengers.
As of 8 January 2017, the lines between central station of Athens and Halkida have been electrified allowing EMU train service. The lines have been changed making the central station of Athens the main layover station. Those lines are Athens – ATH, Athens – Kiato, Athens – Chalcis.
Photography and videography is permitted across the entire Proastiakos network; however, the security personnel may often prohibit camera usage.
The concept of a regular and frequent suburban and commuter rail services was introduced in Greece in the 1990s. It became possible due to extra capacity becoming available through improvements to the existing lines and the construction of new ones. In the past suburban services ran on very infrequent timetables and were not very popular.
The construction of a new rail line between central Athens, its eastern suburbs and the new Athens International Airport was decided in 1992–1993. During the construction of Attiki Odos motorway in the late 1990s, space was left between the main carriageways for the railway line and after two years of construction, the line to Athens International Airport opened in 2004. The first suburban services between Athens and the Airport were inaugurated using Stadler GTW and Siemens Desiro DMU trains.
On 27 September 2005, the new standard gauge rail line reached Corinth, terminating at a new station, located at Examilia. This line today is served by "Proastiakos" suburban services, while initially "Proastiakos" trains stopped at Nea Peramos, Megara, Kinetta and Agioi Theodoroi. On 18 July 2006 three new stations were added: Ano Liosia, Aspropyrgos and Magoula. On 4 June 2007 the line was extended from Athens Central Station to the port of Piraeus with 3 intermediate stations at Lefka, Rentis and Rouf. This extension linked the airport with the port of Piraeus. On 9 July 2007, Proastiakos services reached the new station at Kiato.
TrainOSE also runs "Proastiakos" commuter rail services between the cities of Thessaloniki and Larissa, on the modernised and electrified main line. The service initially operated from Thessaloniki to Litochoro in 2007 and was extended to Larissa in 2008.
In 2009 the brand name "Proastiakos" was also used for a short-lived regional service of four trains in each direction per day, connecting the cities of Xanthi, Komotini and Alexandroupolis in the region of Western Thrace.
In 2010, TrainOSE created the Proastiakos Patras service which runs on the old Athens-Patras line from Agios Andras to Agios Vassileos.
- Piraeus - Athens – Airport
- Piraeus - Athens – Kiato
- Athens – Chalcis
- Ano Liosia – Airport
- Kiato - Aigio
- Airport - Kiato
The suburban railway connects with the other urban railways of Athens in the following stations:
- Piraeus: The suburban station is located close to the Metro Line 1 terminus (As of August 2017 Metro Line 3 is extended and will reach Piraeus in 2020 or 2021).
- Athens Central (Larissa Station): connection with Metro line 2.
- Nerantziotissa: Connection with Metro Line 1.
- Plakentias: connection with Metro line 3.
- Kato Acharnes: connecting the line Kiato-Piraeus with Piraeus-Airport and Chalcis-Athens.
- Acharnes (SKA): passengers can transfer to the mainline and regional rail service of Greece.
- Pallini: shared station with Metro line 3.
- Paiania–Kantza: shared station with Metro line 3.
- Koropi: shared station with Metro line 3.
- Airport: shared station with Metro line 3.
- Kiato: passengers can transfer to TrainOSE bus services to Patras.
Proastiakos of Thessaloniki consists of two routes: one from Thessaloniki to Larissa and one from Thessaloniki to Edessa. Trains run from approximately 5:00am to midnight daily.
|Route||Elec.||First section opened||Latest section opened||Latest station opened||Route||Length (km, mi)||Stations|
|Pieria Line||2007||7 September 2007 Katerini - Litochoro||7 September 2008||7 September 2008 (Larissa)||Larissa - Katerini – Thessaloniki||165.2 km (103 mi.)||12|
|Imathia-Pella Line||25 January 2008||10 August 2013||10 August 2013 (Florina)||Thessaloniki - Florina||156.4 km (71.3 mi.)||22|
The Proastiakos service towards Larissa also connects to the following long distance and regional rail services:
- Thessaloniki: future connection to Thessaloniki Metro
- Platy: passengers can transfer to the regional rail service of Western Macedonia (towards Verroia, Edessa, Amyntaio, Florina and Kozani).
- Larissa: passengers can transfer to the mainline and regional rail service as well as trains to Volos.
Proastiakos of Patras consists of two routes. The first route from Agios Andreas station to the eastern suburb of Agios Vasileios began service on July 9, 2010. The route sees high passenger numbers as it serves the University of Patras, as well as densely populated neighbourhoods and suburbs that are poorly served by other means of transport. For that reason, a bus shuttle service runs from Kastellokampos to the General University Hospital of Patras and the University of Patras campus. Trains run hourly from 6:23 in the morning until 23:23 in the evening, on both directions, every day. It serves 9 stations:
- Agios Vasileios
- Kastellokampos (bus shuttle to University of Patras and General University Hospital)
- Panachaiki (Stadium)-New Museum
- Patras Central Station (common station with the Kato Achaia line)
- Agios Andreas (common station with the Kato Achaia line)
Due to upgrade works on the Athens - Patras line, the section between Agios Vasileios and Rion has been closed, so trains now terminate at Rion Station. However, a bus replacement service from Kastellokampos serves both Aktaion and Agios Vasileios.
The following table lists the routes and the stations for the Proastiakos line of Patras is:
|Route||First section opened||Latest section opened||Latest station opened||Route||Length (km, mi)||Stations|
|A||9 July 2010||Agios Andreas – Agios Vasileios||12.5 km (7.8 mi.)||9|
On February 29, 2020 passenger services began on the second route, extending from Agios Andreas all the way to Kato Achaia. The extension runs on part of the old single meter-gauge Patras-Pyrgos line.
At the early phase of operation, the line will see trains running from Kato Achaia to Patras Central Station. They will be departing from Patras Central Station every 2 hours from 6:37 to 14:37 and then from Kato Achaia Station every 2 hours from 7:41 to 15:41.
For the first three days of operation (29/02-02/03) the early morning services of 6:37 and 7:41 will not be run, although a back and forth journey at 16:37 to Kato Achaia and at 17:41 to Patras Central Station is going to be run. This special schedule is organised in order to help visitors move around the city and its suburbs during the Patras Carnival going on that weekend.
Although regular passenger service will not see trains running in the evening, it is expected that from May onwards, when the tourist and summer season begins, trains will run hourly back and forth in order to accommodate the increased passenger flows towards the popular summer spots in Western Achaia.
The extension is 22 km long and has 11 stops. These are:
- Patras Central Station (common station with the Rion line)
- Agios Andreas (common station with the Rion line)
- Odos Antheias (Antheias Street)
- Kato Achaia
(*)A bus shuttle service will run from Tsoukaleika to the Patras Industrial Area, serving people who work there.
The total journey time from end to end is around 30 minutes with a top speed of 75 km/h, although the line has the capacity to run at 90 km/h.
The price for a standard ticket is €1,40(€1 reduced ticket). However, the fare is expected to change after March 2, as a new fare and zone policy will take effect as follows:
Zone A: Rion - Agios Andreas
Zone B: Patras Central/Agios Andreas - Tsoukaleika
Zone C: Tsoukaleika - Kato Achaia
The bus shuttle/replacement services are included in the same ticket. This means passengers do not have to pay more than the standard (or reduced) fare of €1,40 (or €1) to use both the train and the bus.
Changes on the Kato Achagia Line (South Sector)Edit
Shortly after services started on the line, major changes were made. Bad line enclosure prohibited high speeds (less than 50km/h) on the section from Patras Central to Midilogli station, which in turn made connections between the 2 lines slow and inefficient. These two factors, as well as poor advertising of the new service did not produce big passenger numbers. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown imposed made things worse for that line, and shortly after services were suspended indefinitely.
On July 9th 2020 Proastiakos Patras celebrated its 10th birthday. Five days earlier, on July 4th, after the lockdown was lifted, services on the South sector recommenced, albeit on a shorter route. In order to maximize connection efficiency with the North sector (Rion-Agios Andreas), the route was altered to service the section between Agios Andreas and Kaminia. Alissos and Kato Achagia stations remain inactive to this day. However, works on safeguarding the line have been since going on, with new fences surrounding the line on key parts, where it is otherwise problematic. When works are finished it is expected that trains will reach speeds of 50km/h between Agios Andreas and Midilogli, the section on where such speeds were previously prohibited. This increase in speed should allow trains to reach the original terminus in Kato Achagia in less than 30 minutes, reinstating the original extension, with a more than reliable, fast and efficient connection with Patras and the North sector of the system.
The new service from Agios Andreas to Kaminia saw trains initially run hourly from 6:30 till 15:00. On October 10th, the timetables changed and trains are since running, hourly again, from 6:30 till 18:00..
The fare system has changed too, as the above mentioned 3-Zone fare policy was suspended indefinitely. Both lines are a single fare zone. The standard fare is 1,40 Euros and the reduced is 1 Euro.
Proastiakos uses rolling stock owned and maintained by OSE S.A. Currently[when?] multiple units are used almost exclusively. Siemens Desiro 5-car electric multiple units (EMU) are used for Piraeus - Athens - Airport, Piraeus - Athens - Kiato, Athens – Chalkis and Thessaloniki - Larisa services, while Stadler GTW-2/6 and MAN-2000 diesel two-car multiple units (DMU-2) are used for the Patras-Rio and Patras-Kato Achagia services. As these DMUs have limited passenger carrying capacity, two or three DMUs are coupled together, when rolling stock availability allows it.
Standard tickets (€1,40), valid on all urban buses and trains, are also valid on Proastiakos trains between Piraeus, SKA, Koropi and Magoula. Higher fares apply for travel to the Airport, between Magoula and Kiato; and between Thessaloniki and Larisa. A one-way ticket from Piraeus or central Athens to the Airport costs €8 (7.9 on line) and a return ticket €16 (15.5 on line).
Tickets must be validated on special ticket validation machines on the platform, before boarding the train. Return tickets must be re-validated before boarding a return train. There are no ticket validation machines on the trains.
Addition of new routes and stations to Proastiakos services depends on the progress of a number of OSE infrastructure projects in Attica. The most important projects are:
- Construction of a three or four track line between Rouf and SKA stations.
- Electrification of lines between Piraeus and SKA.
- Installation of signalling on lines between Piraeus and SKA.
- Construction of ten passenger platforms and one "through track" at Athens Central station.
- Construction of new stations at Tavros, Pyrgos Vasilissis, Lykotrypa and Zevgolatio.
As of April 2011, introduction of new and more frequent services is mainly hindered by limited line capacity between Rouf and SKA; and limited availability of diesel rolling stock for the non-electrified line.
Section: Piraeus – S.K.A.Edit
A number of new stations and halts are under construction on this line and they shall be served by Proastiakos trains:
- Athens (Athens Central Railway Station): The station is extended with new platforms to serve future suburban services. Completed as of August 2017.
- Agioi Anargyroi: New four platform station served by mainline and suburban trains, plus a freight siding. The fast line platforms are already operational and are served by Proastiakos and Athens-Chalkis trains. The slow lines are under construction.
- Pyrgos Vasilissis: Is open after the slow lines between Agioi Anargyroi and SKA are operational.
- Lykotrypa: Is open after the slow lines between Agioi Anargyroi and SKA are operational.
- Acharnai Railway Center (SKA): The station is partly open since 2011-04-05, extensive work is still required to finish the first phase of the complex.
Section: SKA – Koropi - LavrioEdit
The extension to Lavrio will mostly follow the alignment of the old Athens to Lavrio metric gauge line, which closed to passengers in 1957 and to goods in 1962. Most of the old alignment is still intact, and several bridges, all station buildings as well as the tracks themselves on many locations, are still in situ, but will need to be replaced as they were designed for a single metric gauge line, while the new one will be standard gauge and double-track for most of its length. The new line will branch off the airport line just beyond Koropi station. New stations will be built at
at or near the same site as their predecessors, the buildings of which, most of them listed structures, will hopefully be preserved. The line will be electrified from the outset.
Section: SKA – Pallini - RafinaEdit
Future services to Rafina will be on new lines, currently[when?] securing funds. The line to Rafina shall branch off after Pallini station and will partly run on the central reservation of the Hymittus Ring Road. The stations will be:
Section: SKA – Corinth / Kiato / Aigio / Patras / LoutrakiEdit
The existing line to Kiato has being extended to Aigio. The extension to Patras is under construction. A branch line to Loutraki is under construction.
- Zefyri: A new station to serve a future sports center.
- Xylokastro: New station with two platforms and pass-through line.
- Aigio: New station with three platforms.
- Loutraki branch:
Section: SKA – Halkida / ThivaEdit
These stations are on the existing mainline and are served by regional and mainline trains. They shall be served by Proastiakos suburban trains in the future, when electrification and adequate line capacity are available between Athens and SKA.
- "Company - TrainOSE". www.trainose.gr. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- "synigoros.gr" (PDF).
- Athens Suburban Railway, TrainOSE, accessed 23 June 2020.
- "Urban Rail Transport S.A.: First & Last Train Departures". Urban Rail Transport S.A. (STASY). Retrieved 2013-07-25.
- "Urban Rail Transport S.A.: Detailed TRAM Timetables". Urban Rail Transport S.A. (STASY). Retrieved 2013-07-25.
- "Patras Suburban Railway". trainose.gr. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
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