Under conditions of maximum possible safety, the restart of the railway is underway, until its technological upgrade system is completed.

The government’s goal is for the restart of trains to take place as soon as possible, possibly by the end of March, having secured the necessary conditions, – “no train is going to start if we do not have the additional safety valves” as the minister Giorgos Gerapetritis said characteristically ,- after consultation with all the involved bodies and employees.

A key condition, however, for the trains to get back on the tracks is finding common ground between the government and workers, who are demanding increased safeguards. The first meeting with the Minister of State was “constructive” but there will be another meeting early next week, in order to agree all the details to put the trains back on the tracks.

The axes for the next day – Immediate initiatives

The government’s plan includes the launch of immediate initiatives to improve the problematic situation on the railways, in terms of both technology and human resource management.

Mandatory two stationmasters in each shift in all stations, with a possible reduction of the transport work (reduction of routes, reduction of trains or stations where the train will stop), as this is the only way to ensure a sufficient number of stationmasters everywhere.

On an operational level, the lines at the site of the tragic accident have been cleared, while some electrification works are expected to be completed at the site by next Thursday. However, it has not yet been determined which routes and which sections of the railway will operate immediately, however according to information, from the side of the railways, it is likely that at the end of next week the Athens suburban routes will start, as the remote control works, as long as of course the line is fully checked, and then the resumption of freight routes.

In addition, there will be better coordination regarding the actions of OSE and Hellenic Train, within the framework of their current technological capabilities.

For the next rail day efforts will focus on both major problems, infrastructure and personnel.

The focus is on the completion of the signaling and remote control upgrading projects in the railway network, and mainly the project concerning the now infamous contract 717 of ERGOSE. The goal is for signaling to work across the entire spectrum of the network and to have a universal remote control function. For the rapid completion of the remote control project, there was also communication between the Prime Minister and the managing director of the French group Alstom. Also, the Prime Minister was asked to immediately provide know-how and assistance from the EU for the complete reorganization of the railway (train safety, improvement of procedures and systems).

In addition, the state budget fund for the upgrading projects of the Greek railway is increased from 45 million euros to 75 million euros, while another approximately 185 million euros will be allocated from the Recovery Fund.

In the near future, the government will bring to Parliament a stricter framework regarding sabotage, theft and damage to the railway network.

With regard to the shortages in human resources, which were cut off during the crisis through transfers and retirements, the already planned recruitment of regular staff is being launched immediately, while a more rigorous training program is also being studied.

The proposals of the workers for the restart in the railway

According to the workers, the proposals that have been put on the discussion table by the Railway Unions with the Minister of State G. Gerapetritis include the adoption of measures, such as:

-Psychological support for Traction and Train Traffic workers

-Gradual reopening of arterial trains and their staffing by the Train Traffic and Control Staff with three employees

-Immediate re-operation of commercial trains in Northern Greece and following the restoration of the railway infrastructure, gradual rerouting of all commercial trains

-Reduced speed in non-remote controlled sections as well as in the tunnels

-Update of the General Traffic Regulation and its faithful application

-Training of Traction and Movement staff on all rolling stock

– Direct coverage of the needs of the Traffic Network Directorates

-Reduction of passenger routes by approximately 50% (arterial trains)

-Gradual increase of all suburban train routes

– GSMR restart

-‘Immediate permanence of colleagues by providing services with evaluation

– Clear definition of the duties of the Train Manager

-Proper flow of spare parts to increase and reliability of the rolling stock