The new Intercity Express train arrived in Athens right on schedule yesterday, after a journey of four hours and 57 minutes from Thessaloniki. «By the end of the year, when another section of track at Leptokaria is completed, traveling time will be reduced by another 20 minutes,» Transport Minister Christos Verelis said yesterday during a visit to Larissa Station in Athens. He said the goal for 2008 was an even faster journey – of three hours and 40 minutes. The new service, with trains leaving both cities every morning, began on January 18 and includes stops in Larissa and Lamia. First-class tickets are 59.30 euros and second-class ones 45.20 euros. The afternoon service, which stops in four towns, takes five hours and 14 minutes. Fares are 52.80 euros for first class and 39.10 euros for second. The old Intercity service continues as before, taking five hours and 29 minutes.