Railway extension not rolling

Work has not started on the extension to the suburban railway, even though the project was assigned to a contractor some two years ago and more than 30 million euros has been spent on the scheme so far, Sunday’s Kathimerini has discovered. After unveiling three new suburban railway stations last week in western Attica: at Ano Liosia, Aspropyrgos and Magoula. Transport Minister Michalis Liapis said that stations in Pendeli and Piraeus would also be opened by the end of the year. He added that another three new stations in Halkida, Kiato and Metamorphosis are due for completion by early next year. However, one section of the suburban railway line, between the train junction in Acharnes, northern Athens, and Piraeus, which should have been completed last December, shows no sign of progress, sources told Kathimerini. The Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) initially awarded the 160-million-euro contract for the upgrade and construction work to the Aktor-Terna-Siemens consortium in November 2004. The group was the only interested party to submit an offer for the tender. The suburban railway currently runs between Athens International Airport and Corinth. A series of bureaucratic and legal holdups meant the deal was not given the official green light until last April. Work on the actual railway line, however, has still not begun and OSE has already given the consortium two extensions, sources said. Meanwhile, the contractors have been given a 16-million-euro advance and 15 million euros for side projects, such as the construction of protective walls, according to sources.