Although road construction projects have been characterized as the most difficult and impressive ones with multiple, major technical works, the same and perhaps even to a larger extent, happens with the country's railway projects. Today, we are just one year away from the launch of the fully electrified, double-track, high-speed line between Athens and Thessaloniki and, within this corridor, there are many technical projects of great significance.
The project that stands out for its technical complexity and its overall outcome is of course the famous, Kallidromo Tunnel. We are talking about a twin tunnel, 9 km long, the longest in Greece and the Balkans, which is located in Tithorea-Lianokladi-Domokos section.
Kallidromo Tunnel and Tithorea-Lianokladi sub-section will be both released by the end of this year and passengers will have the opportunity to experience travelling in such a long tunnel for the very first time. In order to perceive its length, it should be noted that the tunnel corresponds approximately to the size of the Thessaloniki Metro or the section between Aghios Antonios and Aghios Dimitrios of Athens Metro Line 2.
Opening the tunnel took a long 16 years as the first works began in the distant 1997 and the tunnel was finally fully dug on May 22, 2013. The constructions world has characterized it as one of the greatest technical achievements of the country and worldwide due to the very difficult subsoil that has cost several contracts and hundreds of millions of euros.
Currently, the line is undergoing trials and is expected to be released to commercial operation by the end of November. Modern, electric trains will be able to cross Kallidromo Tunnel as well as Tithorea-Lianokladi section, with speeds up to 200 km per hour.
With the operation of Kallidromo Tunnel and Tithorea-Lianokladi section, Athens-Lianokladi route will be covered in less than 2 hours while Athens-Thessaloniki route, in approximately 4 hours 30 minutes.
In 2018 with the completion of the last section (Lianokladi-Domokos) of Athens-Thessaloniki Corridor, time distance between the two cities will be reduced to roughly 3 hours and 25 minutes.