The construction of Thessaloniki’s Metro Main Line as well as the branch to Kalamaria is in full progress. March 2017 is the deadline set by EU for the completion of a significant part of the works in order for the project to proceed to its next phase, being the finalization of the stations’ building process apart from Aghia Sophia and Venizelou.
Till February, we expect the finishing of the double tunnel, which is now 92% complete, and with both TBMs excavating at a satisfying rate. Other major challenges for the project now are:
- The trains procurement, which has to be expedited as it is just 2 years before the launch of the trial operation that will last for 12-15 months,
- the installation of the electromechanical equipment for the Main Line and
- the completion of the trains’ depot, long before the official operation of the system.
Speaking of Thessaloniki’s metro system operation, it is almost certain by now that the long desired moment when the Main Line will become available for the public, is Spring 2020. Of course, a very important condition for the project to remain on track is its smooth and unimpeded funding.
If it wasn’t for the Main Line’s pending double tunnel, Kalamaria branch could have easily been finished first. The building process of the stations is at a very advanced stage and expected to be completed within 2017.
Nevertheless, the race against the clock is still on as, till June 2017, both “moles” must re-emerge from Analipsi station, get dismantled, then reassembled in Mikra station, undergo all necessary technical checks and finally set off for their 4.8-km journey to reach Main Line. Excavation works aside, there is also a public tender to be sorted for the section’s electromechanical equipment.
TBMs must tunnel 8.5 meters per day on average for the branch to be fully drilled by the end of 2018, thus making 2021 the most likely date for the system to be ready.