Tram to take another direction

Just days after announcing details of an extension to the tramline that will take it to Piraeus, Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis has revealed plans to extend the line also in the other direction in a bid to give residents in some of Athens’s southern suburbs better connections to the metro system. Speaking on Christmas Day, Hatzidakis said the government has given the go-ahead for a feasibility study on an extension of Lines 3 and 5, which currently end in Voula. «We have agreed with the Environment and Public Works Ministry that the tramline which runs along the southern coastline will be connected to the metro network in southern suburbs such as Argyroupolis and Hellenikon,» said Hatzidakis. «Therefore, we will extend the tramline so that it can provide a link for commuters to the metro, which will help improve life in the southern suburbs.» The tramline currently runs along the southern coastline but, according to Hatzidakis, the new project will see another line branch off in a northeasterly direction at Alimos. It will run parallel to Alimou Avenue until it reaches Vouliagmenis Avenue and the neighborhood of Argyroupolis. «The tram is a mode of transport we are growing to love day by day, despite the doubts some people had when it started,» said Hatzidakis. «We are determined to strengthen and extend it, as is happening across Europe.» The minister’s announcement came one week after he had revealed that, following years of wrangling, plans for the tramline to be extended to Piraeus would go ahead. The project will see a loop created between Neo Faliron, where lines 3 and 4 currently terminate, and Piraeus. The project is slated to cost 125 million euros. Construction is due to start next year and the tram is expected to reach Piraeus in 2011.