Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday inaugurated a new, improved section of the Athens-Thessaloniki railway that will cut travel time between Greece’s two major cities by 27 minutes, to four hours and 30 minutes. Speaking at the Larissa train station, Simitis said the project showcased Greece’s ability to converge with the other European economies. «What was once considered an impossible dream is gradually becoming a reality,» Simitis said of the development of railways in Greece. The prime minister also used the occasion to highlight his government’s achievements and to call for a continuation of his policies. «Greece is changing at a fast pace… We must continue at an even faster pace, to achieve convergence as soon as possible,» he said. The 35-kilometer (22-mile) Evangelismos-Leptokarya section, straddling the divide between Macedonia and Thessaly, includes two tunnels, 5.5 and 4.3 kilometers long, and 600 meters of bridges. It cost 490 million euros and took more than eight years to complete.