June 28 2013

Thessaloniki’s Metro: A Dream Come True?

Thessaloniki’s Metropolitan Railway is one of the most controversial projects in Greece.

Almost a decade after the construction of the subway in Athens, it was Thessaloniki’s turn to be upgraded in terms of public transportation. The construction started in 2006, although the idea was originally proposed more than 20 years ago. The whole project should have been completed by now; but unfortunately, due to the economic crisis that Greece is going through, there have been lots of interruptions and delays.

Construction Site - Thessaloniki's Metro 1

Construction Site - Thessaloniki's Metro 2

There were many important antiquities that came to light during the excavations. Ancient graves, vessels, jewelry and, recently, whole sections of the ancient city were unearthed, causing great dilemmas about whether or not they should be relocated to the archaeologists and architects working in the excavations.

Construction Site - Thessaloniki's Metro 3

Despite the fact that the citizens of Thessaloniki are really skeptical regarding the completion of the project, Thessaloniki’s Metro should be ready by 2020 according to the latest announcements by the construction company “Attiko Metro S.A.”.

Map showing the base project and the future extensions pf Thessaloniki's Metro

Thessaloniki’s underground railway is supposedly similar to the one in Copenhagen. In its first phase, the metro should have 13 stations with modern design and 9.6 km of underground line with twin tunnels. AnsaldoBreda Driverless Metro trains will be used, and the stations will have glass walls with automatic doors on the edge of the platforms for extra safety – a feature that is missing in the otherwise successful Athens’ metro.

Thessaloniki's Metro under Construction 2

Thessaloniki's Metro under Construction 3

Thessaloniki's Metro under Construction 4

Although Thessaloniki, as a relatively medium sized city, could use a much simpler tram network instead, the metro will definitely solve many traffic problems and make Thessaloniki a much more easy-to-get-around city for both citizens and tourists.

Does your city have its Metropolitan Railway? Was the construction an easy and successful project?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Dafni Dimitriadi

Dafni Dimitriadi is a student of Architecture at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Her numerous experiences in participating in architectural competitions have helped her understand the importance of research and design. She is interested in building and urban design restoration and aims to continue her studies in order to gain more knowledge related to these fields. She is an active volunteer and has participated in many interesting projects, including Open House Thessaloniki. She currently lives in Thessaloniki and through her blogs aims to explore developments associated with architecture and urban design.

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 28th, 2013 at 9:56 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Engineering, Infrastructure, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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2 Responses to “Thessaloniki’s Metro: A Dream Come True?”

  1. Gunter Lorenz Says:

    Dear Dafni,

    congratulations to the archeological finds that i could see from the street above in September 2013.

    Life of the actual generation and the desired prosperity for the future generations always contradict to conserving cultural heritage.
    Modern transport aims to bring an ever growing mass of tourists to -you gess what?- exactly: cultural heritage, archeological sites.

    I propose an subterranean water channel with metro-underground-ships that have a bottom of glass.
    So the metro can run, the archeological finds can rest untouched and the passengers can enjoy the archeological finds of the via egnatia.

    What a stupid idea to dig for the metro in the heart of such an eminent historical city.

    Tendencies in cities with heavy traffic holdups are such: the centers of cities become zones free from private traffic.
    All think it’s the end of the world.
    But NO. The world keeps on turning.

    All arranges just in another way.

    All we build and produce is crap in a few years.
    Europe has to thank Greece for a great lot of its culture an the cultural impulse that can be traced in architecture until neoclassicism and from Portugal to Wladiwostok, in al colonial architecture in north- and Southamerica, the Philippines …

    I hope the greek nous (νοῦς) will find a proper solution for the great challenge!

  2. Dafni Dimitriadi Says:

    Dear Gunter,

    thank you for your comment!
    You have mentioned several important points. It’s true that diggind in a city where obviously many archaeological findings will be discovered, is a great risk. And at this specific occassion, all citizens of Thessaloniki would agree, that it was too risky!
    However, the project, when completed, will be a masterpiece, and those archaeological findings will be the main reason. ( Ιt’s a case of “what doesn’t kill you, can only make you stronger,” isn’t it?)
    As far as you proposal is concerned, despite it’s structural interest, I’m quite sure that it would be way above budget…
    Thank you for sharing your ideas with us!

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