Athens–Piraeus Electric Railways

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Athens-Piraeus Electric Railways S.A.
S.A. (corporation)
FateAbsorbed by STASY S.A. (2011)
PredecessorHellenic Electric Railways (ΕΗΣ)
SuccessorSTASY S.A.
Area served
Athens metropolitan area
ServicesRailway Athens-Piraeus-Kifissia
Number of employees
1003 (May 2011)
ParentOASA S.A.

I.S.A.P. or Athens–Piraeus Electric Railways (Greek: Η.Σ.Α.Π., Ηλεκτρικοί Σιδηρόδρομοι Αθηνών-Πειραιώς, Ilektrikoi Sidirodromoi Athinon-Pireos) was the oldest urban rapid transit system of Athens metropolitan area in Greece. Opened as a suburban railway line connecting Athens with the nearby major port city of Piraeus, it was gradually converted to full rapid transit operations, making it one of the oldest metro lines in the world. The current line evolved from the older Athens & Piraeus Railway and Lavrion Square-Strofyli railway.

In June 2011 ISAP was absorbed by a new transport company, STASY S.A.


Athens and Piraeus Railway[edit]

The old lever frame and track diagram of Omonoia station, now exhibited at the ISAP museum.

The line from Piraeus to Thision was inaugurated on February 27, 1869 as a steam train connecting Athens and its port, Piraeus, and was operated by Athens & Piraeus Railway Co (Greek: Σιδηρόδρομος Αθηνών-Πειραιώς or Greek: Σ.Α.Π.). The project was considered important, so Queen Olga and the Prime Minister Thrasyvoulos Zaimis attended the inauguration ceremony. There were 8 trains in each direction daily and 9 trains in each direction on Sundays.

In 1874 the Athens & Piraeus Railway Company was bought by the Bank of Industrial Credit (Greek: Τράπεζα Βιομηχανικής Πίστεως). Under the new ownership the railway procured additional rolling stock. Soon the line was extended to Omonoia Square with an underground section constructed with the cut-and-cover method.

The line was electrified in 1904 using the 600 V DC, third rail, top contact system (today increased to 750 V DC) by Thomson Houston.

Hellenic Electric Railways Company[edit]

A 1925 season ticket of SAP

In 1926 the operating company was bought by the Power and Traction Finance Ltd and renamed Ellinikoi Ilektrikoi Sidirodromoi (E.I.S., Greek: Ελληνικοί Ηλεκτρικοί Σιδηρόδρόμοι or Greek: Ε.Η.Σ., translated as Hellenic Electric Railways).[1] In 1926 the sister company Ilektriki Etaireia Metaforon or H.E.M., also part of Power Group, took over the 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) metre gauge Lavrion Square-Strofyli railway. This line was eventually converted to standard gauge, double track and became an extension of the existing line, reaching Attiki in 1948 and Kifissia in 1958.

Athens-Piraeus Electric Railways[edit]

In 1976 E.I.S. was nationalized and renamed Athens-Piraeus Electric Railways S.A. (I.S.A.P).[2]

A merger of ISAP with Athens Metro was dictated by Law 2668,[3] however it was postponed indefinitely and the required Presidential Decree was never issued. In January 2011 the Greek Government announced their plans to merge ISAP with Attiko Metro Etaireia Leitourgias S.A., the company which operates Athens Metro, and with Athens Tram in a single new company.[4]

In March 2011, the Greek Government passed Law 3920[5] to allow ISAP and Athens Tram to be absorbed by Athens Metro Operations Company (AMEL). The new company created from the mergers is named "STASY S.A." (Greek: ΣΤΑΣΥ Α.Ε.) and is a subsidiary of OASA S.A. The merger was officially announced on June 10, 2011,.[6]

STASY is based at the former ISAP head offices, near Omonoia Square in Athens. Kostas Vassiliadis, a former chief engineer (1976-1991) and later CEO of ISAP between 1997 and 2000 became Chairman and CEO of the merged company until the end of 2012

Network and stations[edit]

Southbound ISAP train enters Nerantziotissa station
Line length25.657 km (15.943 mi)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
0.0 Piraeus
ISAP museum
Piraeus depot
Faliron depot
2.110 Neon Faliron
3.980 Moschaton
5.560 Kallithea
6.140 Tavros
7.015 Petralona
Thision depot
8.580 Thision
9.070 Monastirion
Metro L3
Omonoia depot
9.985 Omonoia
Metro L2
11.000 Victoria
12.245 Attiki
Metro L2
Attiki depot
13.160 Ag. Nikolaos
13.726 Kato Patissia
14.448 Ag. Eleftherios
15.262 Ano Patissia
16.554 Perissos
17.230 Pefkakia
17.918 Nea Ionia
19.246 Neon Iraklion
20.846 Irini
Irini depot
21.824 Nerantziotissa
23.453 Amarousion
24.631 KAT
25.657 Kifissia


Today ISAP's sole line connects the port of Piraeus with the northern suburb of Kifissia. As it was originally designed for steam traction, the line runs mostly above ground. However, there are no level crossings. It is built to 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge and is electrified using the 750 V DC (originally 600 V DC), third rail, top contact system, also used by Athens Metro Lines 2 and 3. The two systems (ISAP and Metro Line 2) have a physical connection at Attiki station.

From Piraeus the line runs eastwards to Neo Faliro and then north to Thision, approximately parallel to the main road connecting Athens and Piraeus. Between Monastiraki and Attiki the line runs underground. At Monastiraki passengers can change to Metro line 3 and at Omonoia and Attiki to Metro line 2. From Attiki the line continues north, following the alignment of the old "Attica Railways" through Patissia, the suburbs of Nea Ionia, Irakleio, Marousi and terminates at Kifissia. At Nerantziotissa passengers can change to the suburban line serving Athens International Airport.


Rolling stock[edit]

Steam locomotives[edit]

In the early period (1869–1904) the railway used 22 steam tank locomotives of about 6 different types. The majority were of 2-4-0T configuration, made in the United Kingdom by Hudswell Clarke and Sharp Stewart.[7] After electrification, some the steam locomotives were sold to the Hellenic State Railways (SEK).[8]

Table of steam locomotives[9]
Name(s) Type Quantity Manufacturer Serial Nos. Year Notes
Constantine 0-6-0T 1 Hudswell Clarke 1868
Olga, George 2-4-0T 2 Hudswell Clarke 1868
0-4-2T 1 Neilson & Co. 1866
2-4-0T 1 Sharp Stewart c.1878
2-4-0T 6 Sharp Stewart / Hudswell Clarke 1879–1884
2-4-0T 2 Sharp Stewart 1892
Marina 0-6-0ST 1 Manning Wardle 1892 to SEK 51, class Δα (1st)
4-4-0T 2 Neilson & Co. 1892 to SEK 301–302, later 21–22, class Γα
0-4-2T 3 Saint-Léonard 1896

First generation EMUs[edit]

Since electrification (1904) the railway used almost exclusively electric multiple unit (EMU) trains. The vehicles are classified in batches (or deliveries). The first four batches consisted of wooden passenger cars on iron or steel frames. Currently only a short train of two wooden railcars is preserved, modified with the addition of Scharfenberg couplers at each end and is displayed during special events.

Batch Year Description Photograph
1st Locomotive hauled stock
2nd 1904 40 railcars (20 DM and 20 T) made by Thomson Houston/Desouches David & Cie. Withdrawn in 1985. Piraeus-Athens Electric Railway terminal.jpg
3rd 1914 9 railcars made by Baume et Marpent/Desouches David & Cie. Withdrawn in 1985.
4th 1923 12 railcars of the Baume et Marpent design, built at Piraeus Works. Withdrawn 1985.
- 1947–1948 Rebuilding and modernization of damaged rolling stock

The first generation rolling stock was numbered as in the following table:[10]

Marking number type
A1 to A11 11 DT
Γ417 to Γ427 11 DT
F410 to F418 18 T
B601 to B621 21 DM
Total 61

Second generation EMUs[edit]

The fifth (1951), sixth (1958) and seventh (1968) batches were of steel construction, made by Siemens-MAN. At the same time Scharfenberg couplers were introduced.

Batch Year Configuration Type Numbering Description Photograph
5th 1951 DM-DT or
DM 901-912 24 railcars, in 12 EMU-2 trains. Withdrawn in 1995.
DTL 701-706
DT 801-806
6th 1958 DM-DT or
DM 913-928 32 railcars, in 16 EMU-2 trains. Withdrawn in 2003-2004. Piraeus Underground Station 1981b.jpg
DTL 707-714
DT 807-814
7th 1968–1969 DM-DT or
DM 929-937 18 railcars, in 8 EMU-2 trains. Some rearranged in EMU-5 trains. Withdrawn in 2003-2004.
DTL 715-718
DT 815-819

Third generation EMUs[edit]

Currently ISAP uses only modern trains of batches 8, 10 and 11.[11] Batch 8 (1983–1985) consists of five-car trains made by Siemens-MAN. Trains of batch 9 were made by LEW in the German Democratic Republic and have been withdrawn. The trains of the 10th batch (1994), similar to those of the 8th batch, were built by Hellenic Shipyards S.A. using Simenes-MAN design and mechanical parts. The 11th batch (2002) trains, with three phase AC motors were also constructed by Hellenic Shipyards S.A. using ADtranz-Siemens design and mechanical parts.

Batch Year Configuration Type Numbering Description Photograph
8th 1983–1985 DM-T-DM+DT-DM DM 101-145 75 railcars made by MAN/Siemens, originally delivered as 4-car sets (M-M-M-M), and then trailers added to lengthen the trains to EMU-5 sets. ISAP Thision sidings.jpg
T 201-215
DT 301-315
9th 1983–1985 DM-M+M-DM DM 1101–1125 50 railcars made of aluminium by LEW (type GIII) in EMU-4 sets later rearranged in EMU-6 (DM-M+M-DM+M-DM). In limited use after 1999 and all withdrawn until 2004. ISAP LEW GIII.jpg
M 2201–2225
10th 1993–1995 DM-T-DM+DT-DM DM 146-175 50 railcars made by MAN-AEG/Siemens-Hellenic Shipyards in EMU-5 sets.
T 216-225
DT 316-325
11th 2000–2004 DM-T-DM+DM-T-DM DM 3101-3180 120 railcars coupled in 20 EMU-6 trains. Made by ADtranz-Siemens-Hellenic Shipyards. Nine railcars were destroyed by terrorists at Kifissia station on 2009-03-02.[12] 20070523-NERATZIOTISA.jpg
T 3201-3240

Other rolling stock[edit]

Freight railcar 41

In 1904 two electric locomotives, numbered 20 and 21, were bought from Thomson-Houston.

In 1911 the railway bought from Goossens two steeple-cab electric locomotives (numbered 31 and 32) and a self-propelled electric freight railcar (41), capable of operating from third line or overhead line. These could operate over the Piraeus Harbour tramway, the Piraeus-Perama light railway as well as on the mainline to Thision and Omonoia. Freight railcar 41 was used initially to carry bags of transcontinental mail unloaded from passenger liners in Piraeus. Locomotive 32 is still in use, with the overhead collector removed.

In addition the railway owns a road-rail Unimog car and a ballast tamper.

During 1981-1984 ISAP leased six four-car, bright yellow trains of narrow loading gauge (type G-I or Gisela) form East Berlin's metro.

In the early 1980s consideration was given to the purchase of 60 secondhand cars of London Underground R Stock, built between 1938 and 1959, but ultimately no deal was made and new carriages were purchased instead.[13]

Piraeus rolling stock works[edit]

The Royal Saloon (1888)

Athens & Piraeus Railway, in common with most railways of the steam era, had its own rolling stock heavy maintenance works, located next to Piraeus station. In 1926 this became property of E.I.S. In addition to maintenance, repair and rebuilding, Piraeus works constructed a significant number of railway cars, mostly between 1880 and 1960. The most significant projects were the construction of 12 electric rail cars in 1923 and the rebuilding of rolling stock destroyed by allied bombing in 1944.[14] Another noteworthy project was the construction of a small number of electric trams, based on a Dick Kerr model (1939).

An excellent example of the technical skill available at Piraeus works is the Royal Saloon (1888), a present to King George I of Greece. This luxurious vehicle was much admired and it was exhibited at the 1888 "Olympia Fair" (First Athens International Exhibition) held in Zappeion. The Royal Saloon survives to date, and is exhibited in the Railway Museum of Athens.

Proposed northern extension[edit]

An extension to the north was under consideration that would have been built in two phases, reaching Nea Erithrea by the end of the first phase and Agios Stefanos by the end of the second phase. Due to lack of funding, this extension was canceled in 2011.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ S.A.P./E.I.S. also constructed and operated the Piraeus Harbour Tramway (1908-1960) and the Piraeus-Perama light railway (1936-1977). These were also standard gauge and were used by freight and service S.A.P./E.I.S. trains.
  2. ^ Law 352 (Gazette Vol A, issue 147, 16 June 1976)
  3. ^ Law 2669/1988, Government Gazette Issue A 283/1998-12-18, Part 7, paragraphs 3 and 4.
  4. ^ «Πράσινο» στο νομοσχέδιο για τις αστικές συγκοινωνίες Naftemporiki Newspaper, 2011-01-12.
  5. ^ Law 3920, Government Gazette issue A-33, 2011-03-03.
  6. ^ Ministerial Decision 28737/2637, Government Gazette issue B-1454, 2011-06-17
  7. ^ Zartaloudis et al. 1997, p. 29.
  8. ^ Durrant 1972, p. 51.
  9. ^ Durrant 1972, pp. 50–52.
  10. ^ Nathenas et al. 2007, p. 616.
  11. ^ "ISAP vehicles - general information". Archived from the original on 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
  12. ^ "Εμπρησμός σε βαγόνια του ΗΣΑΠ". HMERHSIA (IMERISIA) newspaper. 2009-03-03.
  13. ^ Connor, Piers (1983). The 'R' Stock Story. Hemel Hempstead: London Underground Railway Society. p. 60. ISBN 0-9508793-0-4.
  14. ^ 130 Χρόνια Ηλεκτρικοί Σιδηρόδρομοι Αθηνών-Πειραιώς Α.Ε. (130 years of Athens-Piraeus electric railways). ISAP. 1999–2005. pp. 59, 132, 133. ISBN 960-86477-0-3.
  • 130 Χρόνια Ηλεκτρικοί Σιδηρόδρομοι Αθηνών-Πειραιώς Α.Ε. (130 years of Athens-Piraeus electric railways). ISAP. 1999–2005. ISBN 960-86477-0-3.
  • Durrant, A. E. (1972) [1966]. The Steam Locomotives of Eastern Europe. Newton Abbot, Devon, UK: David and Charles. ISBN 0-7153-4077-8.
  • Nathenas, G.; Kourbelis, A.; Vlastos, T.; Kourouzidis, S.; Katsareas, V.; Karamanis, P.; Klonos, A.; Kokkinos, N. (2007). Από τα Παμφορεία στο Μετρό (in Greek). 2. Athens: Μίλητος (Militos). ISBN 978-960-8460-91-1.
  • Zartaloudis, I.; Karatolos, D.; Koutelidis, D.; Nathenas, G.; Fasoulas, S.; Filippoupolitis, A. (1997). Οι Ελληνικοί Σιδηρόδρομοι (Hellenic Railways) (in Greek). Μίλητος (Militos). pp. 22–37. ISBN 960-8460-07-7.

Further reading[edit]

  • Official website
  • Ελληνικοί Ηλεκτρικοί Σιδηρόδρομοι 1869-1969 (Hellenic Electric Railways 1869-1969) (2nd ed.). Athens, Greece: Hellenic Electric Railways. 2005 [1970]. ISBN 960-86477-1-1.