ETCS awaiting signaling system of rail network

The European Train Control System (ETCS) suffered the same fate as the automatic signaling system, which was not in place at the time of the February 28 railway collision.

Tellingly, almost 16 years after the signing of the contract and after six extensions, the system operates only on the Thessaloniki-Promachonas section, while the rest will be operational by the end of the year. This system transmits train traffic information and can automatically employ the train’s brakes if it exceeds the speed limit or moves on a section of the lines with red signals.

The system in Greece is being built by two contractors. The fixed equipment (on the ground) is manufactured by the Terna-Thales consortium and the corresponding equipment on the trains by Ansaldo (now Hitachi Rail).

The system on Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) trains was installed in 2007-15 and cost €21.3 million (excluding VAT). But the line system, costing €17.2 million (excluding VAT), did not fare as well.

The contract for the supply of the ETCS and related services was signed in September 2007 between the contractor and ERGOSE. It concerned the installation of the system on the Athens-Thessaloniki-Promachonas line (except for the Tithorea-Domokos section, which was being reconstructed under a different contract) and the Oinoi-Halkida line, on which signaling systems from various companies were already in place at the time.

The existence of an operational signaling system is a prerequisite for the installation and operation of the ETCS, because one system “snaps on” to the other.

According to the original contract, the project had an installation period of 30 months and a maintenance period of 24 months (4.5 years in total). It should therefore have been ready in 2012.

The Anti-Money Laundering Authority has launched a general financial audit for bribes in railway network owner OSE and its subsidiaries.

The audit was ordered by authority chief Charalambos Vourliotis, a deputy prosecutor of the Supreme Court.

It is understood that the audit will target officials who held positions of responsibility in OSE, its ERGOSE subsidiary (which builds railway infrastructure), and TRAINOSE (as the railway operator was known before its privatization and renaming as Hellenic Train) and were involved in railway contracts and projects in recent years.

The audit will examine property ownership and bank accounts and will also target companies and contractors who took part in railway projects.

Financial audits will also be conducted on Hellenic Train executive



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