Rail link to airport established

A double rail connection to Athens International Airport was inaugurated yesterday, with the suburban railway beginning services for the first time and Metro Line 3 (Monastiraki-Doukissis Plakentias) extended to the airport. Transport Minister Michalis Liapis said that the completion of the suburban railway was a «feat… no one believed a few months ago that this project would be ready (on time).» Once the festivities were over, however, and trains started whisking passengers from Larissa railway station to the airport, some problems emerged, with contradictory orders given by Athens Suburban Railway and Hellenic Railways Organization employees, which resulted in confusion over which trains departed and delays. After the ride began, it was smooth enough, completing the run in 41 minutes, although this time there were no passengers at the intermediate stops (Neo Iraklion, Kifissias Avenue, Pallini, Kantza and Koropi). Suburban railway officials said they still considered this a trial run and that during the weekend trains will run only between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. These trips will be free of charge. From Monday, a normal schedule will be established, with passengers paying 8 euros for a one-way trip and 12 for a round trip. During the Games, the first train, from Larissa Station, will leave at 4.26 a.m. and the last from the airport at 12.15 a.m. The metro operation went on without major glitches. The trains bound for the airport (without intermediate stops after Doukissis Plakentias) will run at half-hourly intervals except late at night. Fares, charged from Sunday onward, will be the same as for the suburban railway.