Thessaloniki Metro

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Thessaloniki Metro
Native name Μετρό Θεσσαλονίκης
Owner Attiko Metro A.E.
Locale Thessaloniki, Greece
Transit type Rapid transit/Light metro
Number of lines 2[1][2]
Number of stations 35 (18 under construction, 17 planned)
Daily ridership 320,000 (projected)[3]
Website Official Attiko Metro page
Operation will start November 2020[4][5]
Character Underground subway
Number of vehicles 18 AnsaldoBreda Driverless Metro
System length 14.4 km (8.9 mi) (2021)
33 km (21 mi) (when finished)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 750 V DC third rail
Thessaloniki Metro map

Thessaloniki Metro Map.svg

Thessaloniki Metro (Greek: Μετρό Θεσσαλονίκης, Metró Thessaloníkis) is an ongoing megaproject to construct an underground rapid transit system in Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city. Estimates for the cost of the project currently stand at 1.05 billion ($1.18 billion) for the main line, and €518 million ($584 million) for the Kalamaria extension, for a grand total of €1.57 billion ($1.77 billion), mostly funded with loans from the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund.[6] Construction is carried out by a Greek-Italian consortium and overseen by Attiko Metro, the Greek state-owned company which also oversaw the construction of Athens Metro.

Proposed in the 1910s and first seriously planned in the 1980s, construction of the project finally began in 2006, with construction on the Kalamaria extension starting in 2013. Initial proposals saw a metro system of 3 lines, however the latest Attiko Metro proposal seeks to combine the eastward and westward extensions into a single line of circular form by turning the western extensions into a loop;[1] thus the system will be made up of the main line, and the Kalamaria-Evosmos extension. The current system under construction features 18 stations and 14.4 km (8.9 mi) of tunnels.

After years of delays, mostly due to archaeological discoveries in the Thessaloniki city centre during construction (see section below), and due in part to the Greek financial crisis, most of the main line is set to open to the public in November 2020, with the rest of the main line and the Kalamaria extension being finished by mid-2021. Attiko Metro describes the metro as "not only better than the Athens Metro, but the most modern metro in Europe".[7]

Proposals in the 1910s and 1980s[edit]

This map by Thomas Mawson (approx. 1918) clearly shows a Metropolitan Railway line, in purple, running the same course the modern Line 1.[8]

The first to suggest an underground Metropolitan Railway system for Thessaloniki was Ernest Hébrard during the redesign of the city in the early 1910s.[9] Hébrard (along with Thomas Hayton Mawson) was head of a commission appointed by the government of Eleftherios Venizelos to redesign Thessaloniki following the Great Fire of 1917, which devastated the city centre. He proposed an underground railway line to to allow easy access from the city's downtown to the planned outskirts of the city to the east. Though the city has grown considerably since Hébrard's original design, the modern metro line is almost identical to the one he devised, running from his proposed New Railway Station to the suburb of Nea Elvetia.[10][11] In 1968, a circular metro line was proposed, extending as far out as the Airport and crossing the Thermaic Gulf in a tunnel.[8]

The idea for constructing a metro was only seriously considered in the 1980s. In 1988, under the Mayorship of Sotiris Kouvelas, the municipality of Thessaloniki published a study for its Thessaloniki Metro development plan, as well as a complete study for the construction of the first phase of the project.[12] The line was almost identical to the modern line, with 14 stations running between the New Railway Station and Nea Elvetia. The plan saw one additional stop between Analipseos and Patrikiou, called 25 Martiou, and had alternative names for three stops: Dimokratias is shown as Vardari, an alternative name for the public square the station serves, Venizelou is listed as Alkazar (Hamza Bey Mosque, located on the corner of Egnatia and Venizelou streets), and Efklidi is shown as Archaeological Museum Street.[12] In its entirety, the network would be within the limits of the Municipality of Thessaloniki, thus not including Kalamaria and excluding a large portion of Thessaloniki's urban area. Of the 7.77 km (4.83 mi) of track proposed, 6.26 km (3.89 mi) would be underground and 1.51 km (0.94 mi) overground.[12]

Route diagram of the 1988 proposal for a 7.8 km (4.8 mi) network (in red), with future extensions in blue.[12]

In 1989 construction on the first 650 metres (2,130 ft) of tunnelling along Egnatia street between the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair grounds and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki began (Panepistimio station).[12] A noticeable difference to the current system is that construction was carried out with the cut-and-cover method, instead of with the use of a tunnel boring machine. Additionally, the metro line was only 4.5 metres (15 ft) underneath ground level at Patrikiou, and later dropped to approximately 10 metres (33 ft) towards the New Railway Station, but this would have created problems for the archaeological services similar to the ones encountered during the construction of the current system. Construction was meant to finish in 1995, but ultimately the project stalled and became known as "the hole of Kouvelas".[12] The project never materialised due to a series of failed contract competitions and several appeals against awarded contracts. A further obstacle to the project was the lack of interest from Greece's central government to help the project; the Municipality of Thessaloniki funded this project on its own, and asserted that the European Communities were ready to cover 50% of the project costs as well as provide favourable loans for the rest of the costs, but without the involvement of the central government this never went forward.[12] Part of the reason why the central government did not support the project was the political polarisation of Greece in the 1980s; Kouvelas was from the centre-right New Democracy party at a time when Greece was being governed by the Panhellenic Socialist Movement.[10] The idea of a ThessalonikI Metro was ultimately abandoned until the 2000s.

The project[edit]

Thessaloniki Metro stations will be equipped with platform edge doors on island platforms, similar to the ones in the picture at Copenhagen's Forum station.
Thessaloniki Metro trains will be driverless, similar to the ones on the Copenhagen Metro.

The construction of the Thessaloniki Metro started in June 2006 and is scheduled to be completed by 2020, with the exception of two metro stations that will be delivered to the public by 2022 at the latest.[13] The project has been substantially delayed by significant archaeological discoveries, which have been responsible for delaying construction by three years or more.[14][15]

The first phase of the project consists of 9.6 kilometres (6.0 mi) of underground line (with twin tunnels), 13 stations along its length, and a depot at the southeast end of the line. The total budget for the project is about 1.1 billion euro. Part of the budget (€250 million) is funded from the 3rd CSF and a loan for €250 million has been arranged with the European Investment Bank.

Phase 2 of the project was approved to begin construction prior to the operation of the Phase 1 line and in May 2009 Attiko Metro put to tender for the construction of the extension to Kalamaria. Attiko Metro claimed this would prevent the construction of the transfer stations from interrupting the basic line operation.[16]

Thessaloniki's metro will share many similarities with the Copenhagen Metro which operates as a light metro. It will feature 18 AnsaldoBreda Driverless Metro trains that will run in separate tunnels in each direction, while each station will feature glass walls with automatic doors on the edge of platforms, for added safety. The project is being constructed by a Greek-Italian consortium and overseen by Attiko Metro, the company that manages the Athens Metro.


Considerable progress has been made to the construction of the metro system since work began in 2006. Overall, 7.2 km of tunnels have been dug underneath the city, 3.8 for direction A and 3.04 for direction B.[17] As the overall length of a single tunnel is estimated to be 9.6 km, 37.5% of the entire network has already been dug. As of 2015, the following progress has been made to the stations on Phase 1 of the construction.

Update: March, 2017- The European Commission has greenlit €1.3 billion for infrastructure projects in Greece out of their Cohesion Policy funds. Over half that money, some €730 million, has been earmarked for the extension and completion of the Thessaloniki Metro. €407 million will go towards the completion of the main line, which includes new tunnels, renovations of stations, and 24 trains, while €323 million will be spent on an extension to Kalamaria. The Thessaloniki Metro Project resumed work in March, 2016, after a 4-year delay because of legal and financial problems.

Station Construction site Diaphragmatic walls Archaeological exc. Station construction Station formation
Main Route:
New Railway Station
Agias Sofias
Analipseos (Completed)
25is Martiou
Nea Elvetia
Phase 2:
Nea Krini
  •      Completed
  •      Underway
  •      Not started

Stations planned[edit]

Phase 1 (under construction)[edit]

Thessaloniki Metro (Under Construction)
Line length 14.38 km (8.94 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Proastiakos & Hellenic Railways
N. Sid. Stathmos OSE-Logo.svg Thessaloniki Metro parking.svg
Thessaloniki Metro Line 1.svg Thessaloniki Metro Line 2.svg
Agia Sophia
Panepistimio Thessaloniki Metro parking.svg
Nea Elvetia Thessaloniki Metro Line 1.svg Thessaloniki Metro parking.svg
Nea Krini
Pylaia Depot
Mikra Thessaloniki Metro Line 2.svg
  • OSE-Logo.svg New Railway Station BSicon LDER.svg BSicon PARKING.svg
  • Dimokratias
  • Venizelou
  • Aghia Sofia
  • Sintrivani
  • Panepistimio (University) BSicon PARKING.svg
  • Papafi
  • Efklidi
  • Fleming
  • Analipseos
  • Patrikiou
  • Voulgari
  • Nea Elvetia BSicon PARKING.svg

Park and ride[edit]

Several park and ride facilities are planned to facilitate the large number of vehicular commuters in the city. These include two facilities at the New Railway Station with four underground levels of 450 and 600 parking spaces, 1,000 underground spaces shared over four levels at the Panepistimio (University) station and 650 underground spaces over one level at the Nea Elvetia station. A total of 3,700 park and ride spaces have been planned for Phase 1 of the project.[20]

Future lines and extensions[edit]

Phase 2[edit]

Construction of the Phase 2 extension to Kalamaria (to the southeast) started in the summer of 2014.

Development plan[edit]

Thessaloniki Metro (Development Plan)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Proastiakos & Hellenic Railways
Aghia Varvara
N. Sid. Stathmos OSE-Logo.svg Thessaloniki Metro parking.svg Thessaloniki Metro Line 1.svg
Agia Sophia
Panepistimio Thessaloniki Metro parking.svg
Nea Elvetia Thessaloniki Metro Line 1.svg Thessaloniki Metro parking.svg
Nea Krini
Pylaia Depot
Anotera Scholi Polemou
Geoponiki Scholi
Makedonia Airport BSicon FLUG.svg Thessaloniki Metro Line 2.svg

The metro's development plan includes the proposals for further extensions to the Northwest and the Southeast. Phase 3 was initially intended to extend to Efkarpia, but in the summer of 2018 it was announced that a loop would be created instead, with the Phase 1 main line continuing past the New Railway Station and calling at 9 other stops before merging back into the main line between the New Railway Station and Dimokratias. Future extensions towards the north of Evosmos, as well as Efkarpia and Papageorgiou hospital, are under consideration.

Construction on this phase shall begin right after phase 2, with a completion date looking at around 2020; it has been announced that by then the city will operate 33 km (21 mi) of metro line.[citation needed]

  • Stavroupoli loop (continues from the New Railway Station and merges at Dimokratias)
  • Further extension of the Kalamaria branch, towards Macedonia International Airport. The plans are still under consideration, and no definitive decisions have been taken yet. Current proposals concern an overground elevated metro line after Mikra station, or a monorail service, with three intermediate stations.


A great number of important archaeological, mostly Roman and early Christian/Byzantine, finds have occurred during the construction of the metro. Between the New Railway Station and Sintrivani/Ekthesi stations, the metro route runs immediately below one of Thessaloniki's main arteries: Egnatia Street. Egnatia, in turn, follows the same route as the Roman road Via Egnatia took to connect Rome with Constantinople, one of the most important road links in the Roman and Byzantine empires. The section of the road which passed through Thessaloniki constituted the city's Decumanus Maximus (main road), and runs below the modern Egnatia road at 5.4 metres (18 ft) below ground level.[10]

Although the route of the Via Egnatia within Thessaloniki was known when the metro line was planned, it was not know at what depth it was situated. The metro was planned to run at 8 metres (26 ft) below ground, only 2.6 metres (8.5 ft) between it and the ancient road. The discovery of the Byzantine road at Venizelou and Aghia Sofia stations was a major archaeological find: 75 metres (246 ft) of the marble-paved and column-lined road were unearthed, along with shops, other buildings, and plumbing, which one scholar described as "the Byzantine Pompeii".[14]

The discovery sparked a controversy within Thessaloniki, as Attiko Metro wanted to remove the antiquities and re-assemble them elsewhere, while the city's Archaeological services wanted Attiko Metro to change its design and alter both the depth of the line as well as the entrance points to the stations. Ultimately, the city council sided with the Archaeological services in 2015; 3 years after the metro was originally meant to enter service.[10] Attiko Metro re-designed the line, sinking the tunnels to a depth ranging from 14 metres (46 ft) to 31 metres (102 ft), and making provisions for mini museums within the metro stations, similar to those of Athens Metro stations like Syntagma, which houses the Syntagma Metro Station Archaeological Collection.[21]

The archaeological excavations are expected to exceed €75 million ($85 million) in costs, with the original archaeological budget being only €15 million ($17 million),[10] and employ 300 archaeologists.[21] The archaeological works are being carried out jointly by the Ministry of Culture and Sports' Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and the Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities.

Thessaloniki Metro stations with important archaeological discoveries[21]
Station Major find(s) Importance
New Railway Station Mid
Dimokratias Ancient and early Christian cemetery & church,
Ottoman inns and warehouses
Venizelou Roman/Byzantine Decumanus Maximus High
Agias Sofias Roman/Byzantine Decumanus Maximus, commercial centre[10] High
Sintrivani/Ekthesi Byzantine Basilica Mid
University Mid
Fleming Roman cemetery and small settlement Low
Pylaia Depot Settlement dated to the 3rd/4th century BC, tufa sarcophagus Low


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Attiko Metro A.E. "Extensions". Retrieved 10 August 2018. To this end, ATTIKO METRO S.A. is designing and suggesting a solution combining both individual extensions into a circular line of a unified form. 
  2. ^ "Η Συνέντευξη τoυ Γιάννη Μυλόπουλου για το Μετρό Θεσσαλονίκης" [Giannis Mylopoulos' interview about the Thessaloniki Metro]. Retrieved 12 August 2018. 
  3. ^ "Μυλόπουλος: Το 2020 θα κυκλοφορούν καθημερινά 320.000 επιβάτες με το μετρό της Θεσσαλονίκης" [Mylopoulos: In 2020 320,000 people will travel on the Thessaloniki metro system]. Retrieved 12 August 2018. 
  4. ^ "Μετρό Θεσσαλονίκης: Χαμόγελα στα εργοτάξια μετά από χρόνια" [Thessaloniki Metro: Smiles at the construction sites after years]. (in Greek). 2 March 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2018. 
  5. ^ "Θεσσαλονίκη: Νοέμβριο του 2020 παραδίδεται η 1η γραμμή μετρό Νέα Ελβετία-Συντριβάνι" [Thessaloniki: The 1st line from Nea Elvetia to Sintrivani will be opened in 2020]. (in Greek). 20 March 2018. Retrieved 13 August 2018. 
  6. ^ Attiko Metro A.E. "Funding". Retrieved 5 June 2018. 
  7. ^ Attiko Metro A.E. "Ιστορικό" [History]. (in Greek). Retrieved 17 August 2018. 
  8. ^ a b Naniopoulos, Aristotelis; Nalmpantis, Dimitrios. Συστήµατα σταθερής τροχιάς στην πόλη της Θεσσαλονίκης. Ιστορική αναδροµή (1889-1968) [Fixed-track systems in Thessaloniki. Historical Retrospective (1889-1968)]. (in Greek). Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Retrieved 14 August 2018. 
  9. ^ Gerolympou, Alexandra (1995). Η Ανοικοδόμηση της Θεσσαλονίκης Μετά την Πυρκαγιά του 1917 [The Rebuilding of Thessaloniki after the Great Fire of 1917] (in Greek) (Second ed.). Aristotle University of Thessaloniki University Press. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Skai TV. "Ιστορίες: Μετρό Θεσσαλονίκης" [Stories: Thessaloniki Metro]. (in Greek). Retrieved 13 August 2018. 
  11. ^ "Πώς το σχέδιο Εμπράρ άλλαξε την εικόνα της Θεσσαλονίκης" [How the Hébrard plan changed the image of Thessaloniki]. (in Greek). Retrieved 10 August 2018. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Κι όμως! Το ΜΕΤΡΟ Θεσσαλονίκης είναι έτοιμο (στα χαρτιά) από το 1987!" [It's true! The Thessaloniki Metro was ready (on paper) in 1987 already!]. (in Greek). Retrieved 13 August 2018. 
  13. ^ Timos Fakalis (18 September 2012). Θεσσαλονίκη: Στα σκαριά τραμ και ενοικιαζόμενα ποδήλατα [Thessaloniki: The tram works and rental bikes]. (in Greek). Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Giorgos Christides (14 March 2013). "Thessaloniki metro: Ancient dilemma for modern Greece". Retrieved 13 August 2018. 
  15. ^ "Thessaloniki metro ruins need more money, time". 25 March 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  16. ^ Thessaloniki Metro Extensions Archived 17 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Attiko Metro A.E. (31 March 2011). "Συμφωνία για άμεση κατασκευή του σταθμού "Παπάφειο"". Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  19. ^ Attiko Metro A.E. (10 March 2011). "Δηλώσεις του Υφυπουργού κ. Γιάννη Μαγκριώτη στο Σταθμό ΕΥΚΛΕΙΔΗΣ του ΜΕΤΡΟ". Archived from the original on 25 March 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  20. ^ Attiko Metro
  21. ^ a b c Attiko Metro A.E. "Αρχαιολογικές ανασκαφές" [Archaeological excavations]. (in Greek). Retrieved 13 August 2018. 


External links[edit]