When the General Traffic Regulation (GTR) is not implemented by humans, “no system can save you”, stressed the Pan. Theoharis, who was president of TRAINOSE (2016-2018) and managing director of OSE (3/2018-9/2019), in the context of his testimony to the commission of inquiry for the “investigation of the crime of Tempe”.

Mr. Theoharis mentioned that the General Traffic Regulation is the basic rule of operation of the railway, noting that “whatever systems we put on the railway, [..] enforce the strict application of the General Traffic Regulation”. As he said, the GKK is a very strict regulation, which comes from the military regulations of the 19th century, and its strict application, even in military-style ways, is essential in order not to have a problem on the railway. As an example he mentioned that “in the mobilization of 1940, without any system, only with the telegraph, 180 trains passed in one day, without a single derailment. This shows the possibilities that the operation of the regulation can provide.”

Asked to talk about the problems he found when he took over, he pointed out the reduced number of staff due to voluntary and compulsory retirements: “During the period I took over, there were around 200 stationmasters, there was a corresponding order of magnitude in the train drivers, while there was, with the privatization, a recruitment process of 80 train drivers, who were trained at the railway academy, which had ceased to operate since 2010.

When asked by the chairman of the committee, D. Markopoulos, if the period 2009-11, with the government of George Papandreou and responsible minister Dimitris Reppas, “was of decisive importance for the fate of the railways”, Mr. Theoharis replied “indeed” and added : “The whole period starting after the Olympics, and continuing until 2014, is decisive, and I would say irreversible, to a large extent for the developments in the railway.”

As for the course of the “717” contract and the reasons why it was not completed until 2019, Mr. Theoharis said that lack of essential spare parts was found, which were not provided for in the contract. He also underlined that “717” is a project of ERGOSE, which has both the head Authority and the managing agency and the supervising engineer, and therefore the practical issues the management of the OSE cannot see in the required detail.