Metro to triple in 8 years

By 2010, the Athens Metro will have almost tripled in size, with new lines fanning out to Piraeus, Galatsi, Hellenikon and Maroussi, the government promised yesterday. This would cut existing completion schedules by 10 years. Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou told a press conference that the extension would involve 26.2 kilometers of new – mostly underground – lines and 21 new stations, at an estimated cost of 2.5 billion euros. The current network’s two lines cover 18 kilometers, and were inaugurated in January 2000, eight-and-a-half years after the contract for the Metro project was signed. Papandreou said the new lines would run from Panormou Station to the Paradeisos area of Maroussi, from a scheduled station at Aegaleo to Piraeus, from Panepistimiou Station to Galatsi and from Dafni Station to Hellenikon. All these were initially meant to be ready in 2020. The minister said the 1.5-km Syntagma-to-Monastiraki route will be ready in March, while another 14.5 kilometers with 12 stations will be completed between 2004 and 2006.