Tram is headed to Piraeus

In a decision that will likely be welcomed by commuters and tourists, it was agreed yesterday that the tram will run to Piraeus by 2010 as Attica’s main port continues to improve its public transport links with Athens. Piraeus Mayor Panayiotis Fassoulas and Transport Minister Michalis Liapis settled on a preliminary agreement that the tram line, which currently terminates in Neo Faliron, will be extended 3.3 kilometers to Karaiskaki Square in Piraeus and then loop back to the Peace and Friendship Stadium. It is expected that an extra 30,000 people will use the tram daily as a result of the -68-million extension. The deal has to be approved by the Piraeus municipal council. Piraeus officials had been reluctant until recently to agree to a deal with the tram operator as they appeared to be holding out for a deal to extend the metro to the port. The government has agreed to extend Line 3 of the metro to Piraeus from Haidari in western Athens. The extension to Haidari is due to be completed next year. However, Fassoulas revealed that several other concessions had also been made to Piraeus so local officials could agree to the deal. One of the main sweeteners in the deal was an agreement by the government and transport authorities that an underground tunnel will be built for the section of the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway that passes through the crowded streets of the port area. As a result, the railway will run underground between the Neo Faliron station and Piraeus. The project will cost almost -60 million. The Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) has also agreed to conduct a detailed study of Piraeus’s transport needs. The Proastiakos suburban railway is also expected to begin journeys to the port this year. The construction of the new transport links is also likely to lead to the regeneration of Karaiskaki, Diliyianni, Alykakou and Korai squares in Piraeus. It was also revealed that there are plans to create another tram line to serve other neighborhoods near Piraeus.