NEWS

Railway works veering off track

Engineering work on the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) which was due to be completed last month is not going to be finished until the summer, the company has admitted, although some officials believe that the entire section may not be operating normally until the fall. Just over half of the work has been completed. Engineers began working on the line last year to replace the track to increase speed and safety. Once all the track is replaced, it is estimated that the journey between Kifissia and Piraeus will take some 40 minutes rather than the current 55 minutes. When the improvements began last year, the Transport Ministry had said the work would be finished by February of this year. However, ISAP has now revised this date and says the line will be running normally in July. But sources within the company have told Kathimerini that the work may continue until the fall, causing further delays and inconvenience for thousands of commuters. Officials say that the delay has been caused by the uncovering of two sections of the Long Walls that connected ancient Athens with its port, Piraeus, during engineering work between Kallithea and Moschato. However, this is only the latest holdup in a 109-million euro project that was due for completion before the Athens 2004 Olympics. ISAP officials said that work on the Omonia-Tavros section of the line has finished. Currently, there is no service between Kallithea and Neo Faliro, forcing commuters to use a replacement bus service. However, ISAP insists that this section is due to be ready on April 1, as previously promised. This weekend, there will be no service between Ano Patissia and Irini, but passengers can use the X15 bus instead.