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Code patras

Task Definition joint seminar week urban and railway development in Patras 09 – 16 june 2013


Content 1


Project Definition................................................................................................... 7 1.1 Current Situation.......................................................................................... 7 1.2

Starting Point................................................................................................. 8


General Conditions.................................................................................... 10


Task description for the Teams.............................................................. 15


Expected Results......................................................................................... 15


Organisation and Programme.............................................................. 18

Basic Information on the Urban Development of Patras and the Northwest Peloponnese Region and the Development of the Railway System........................................................................................................ 20 2.1 General Information on Spatial Planning in Greece.................... 20 2.2

Urban Development of Patras............................................................... 20


Social Infrastructure of the City Today............................................... 23


Most Important Current Problems in Patras................................... 23


National Planning Aspects for Patras; The National Development Plan of 2008..................................................................... 23


Regional Development; Regional Plan for Western Greece....... 24


The Master Plan for Patras...................................................................... 25


Railway Development in Greece........................................................... 26



Preface The region and city of Patras are facing far-reaching questions of spatial and transport development. One central question concerns the new double track and electric railway connection from Athens to Patras. Originally, the plan for this route called for a long city tunnel in Patras to be built. Because of the high cost, such a solution appears to be possible only in the long-term. Therefore, the question arises as to what kind of interim solutions would be feasible. Representatives of the city and region of Patras, the Hellenic Railways Organisation and the Technical Universities of Patras, Athens and Zurich discussed this topic and its associated problems in a symposium at ETH Zurich in September 2012. The universities suggested another joint seminar week as a first step, this time in June in Patras, with students from the three universities and the participation of several experts to sound out ideas and possibilities for an integrated development. The basis for the seminar week is the task definition document before you. We hope that the seminar week will produce stimulating discussions and interesting suggestions that will deliver important contributions to a continuing process. We thank all those who participated in preparing the task definition, providing the relevant documents and the coordination of the event in Patras for their valuable cooperation. Prof. Dr. Vassilis Pappas Assoc. Professor for Spatial Planning, University of Patras Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Moraitis

Professor for Architecture, Technical University of Athens

Prof. Dr. Bernd Scholl

Professor for Spatial Development, ETH Zurich





Chapter 1


Project Definition


Current Situation

investments concerning the road network on national and regional level as well, as also at the city and community level. On the public transport sector, the network of the regional busses (ΚΤΕΛ),has been remarkably extended and ameliorated.The investments(funded by the greek government and the EU) which are made in the greek railway network in the last decade, have not delivered yet ,the expected positive effect in national and regional level. Railway transport, which played an important role in the economic and social development of the city and region of Patras in the last century, is now at a still-stand. Of the 210 km of the planned route from Athens to Patras, only 100 km are in operation. The passenger and goods transport has been displaced to the road (large part of which is under renovation, but due to the economic crisis remains unfinished), with all the negative consequences of that, in relation to advancing urban sprawl in the countryside and environmental pollution.

In the years to come Greece is facing challenges of great political and economic importance. It has to produce reliable solutions for the increasing impoverishment of the Greek middle class and has to offer a healing remedy for the deep gash caused by the social and economic crisis, in the lives of people and in the social structure of the country. The above described bleak socioeconomic conditions may also be related to massive population movements that already began and may augment their impact in the next few years. The first of these movements concerns a major part of qualified young Greeks of university education moving abroad, especially towards countries of Central Europe and North America. A second migratory tendency has to do with internal decentralisation movements due to increasing poverty und unemployment in the urban areas. Nowadays,-reverse of the internal migratory movement of the 1960s –, Greek citizens move from the metropolitan areas of Athens and Thessaloniki, towards rural areas or to the villages of their origin, expecting to find a way-out from a long period of unemployment . The current crisis offers also new opportunities for sustainable spatial development and the amelioration of the official transport policy which has been implemented until now. In recent decades, it has been given priority to 6

Figure 1: Current map of the entire Greek railway network. (Source: Presentation L. Isaia, September 2012, ETH Zurich)


Starting Point

The development plan from OSE (Hellenic Railways Organisation) includes an expansion of the railway line from Athens to Patras. The connection between Athens and Patras is part of the core network of the TransEuropean Network (TEN-T) and is therefore of regional, national , as well as of European importance. As previously mentioned, of the 210 km planned route, today only the first 100 km from Athens to Kiato is in operation. The 71 km stretch from Kiato to Rododafni-Aigio (cost estimate 920 million euro) is under construction. At this time, the last part, a 40 km stretch between Rododafni and Patras, has been postponed for a variety of technical and economic reasons. The OSE project plan includes an underground section in the urban areas around Patras and Rio (4.3 km long in Patras and ca. 300 m long in Rio). The suggested costs for the 4.3 km section come to about 700 million euro. The suggested cost for the entire 210 km line amounts to ca. 2 billion euro.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), which is involved in the financing of the project, has declared the last section to be «non-bankable» because of the high costs, and has suspended financing. The master plan of the city of Patras, which has been recently revised, has accepted the OSE proposal on the underground railway track in the area of the inner city. The expected positive effect is to remove the spatial barrier of the railway lines between the historical city centre area and the waterfront. This reflects the opinion of a relatively large portion of the population who hope to have the long-awaited connection of the city centre with its seafront. However, some of the spatial planners are questioning the urban planning advantages of the above proposed solution. The counter-argument, besides the technical (higher ground water level) and economic difficulties, concentrates on the negative transformation at the north and south margins of the city centre. Those parts of the city would be irrevocably cut off from the waterfront, if the underground route of the railroad were installed. (The ramp length is 1300 m on both sides of the 3.2 km of the deepest part, i.e., each ramp has a length of 650 m). Another spatial barrier for the city and its urban fabric is the old harbour zone enclosed in the interior of its 3 m high walls. The Central Port Authority, which is still operating in the old harbour area, has already transferred a part of its activities to the new harbour . The new harbour area lies at the south part of the city (Akti Dimeon), and has been in operation since July 2011.

Figure 2: Map of the north Peloponnesus showing the route Kiato–Rododafni. (Source: Presentation L. Isaia, September 2012, ETH Zurich) (New high-speed railway line Kiato-Egio<Rododafni>)



Figure 3: The walls of the old harbour separate the city from the waterfront.

Figure 4: The new harbour in 2011. (Source: Presentation D. Sardellianos, September 2012, ETH Zurich )

A connection between the harbour and the railway is planned. The new harbour from Patras is the end station of the Athensâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Patras railway-route. In addition, the OSE plan foresees a future expansion of the railway line to the south of the Pelopponese. The cities of Pyrgos and Kalamata still need to be connected to the line. At the moment, the site of the old harbour is in a transition phase. In August 2012, a first agreement between the city and the Central Port Authority(supported by the national government) was signed for the clearing of the harbour premises to benefit the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s development.



General Conditions

1.3.1 Distinctive topography When one looks at the city map of Patras, can see a narrow strip of urban land, extending between the imposing ,1926 m high Panachaikon Mountain in the east, and the sea in the west. Glavkos, Milichos and Charadros are the three rivers, with names originated from ancient Greece, that have their sources in the Panachaikon Mountain and are flowing through the city into the Gulf of Patras. However for pedestrians walking through the city, these strong natural elements remain in their major part undetected. Though Patras is the first really designed neoclassical city in contemporary Greece, the development of the city during the second part of the second part of 20th century seems to be poorly controlled. High-rises and street networks seem rather to respond to short sighted decisions than to serious planning effort. The organized urban network existing between the open public spaces of the neoclassical city has been collapsed to an amorphous urban area. Riverbeds are set in concrete, separating the city from the surrounding nature. The cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s residents do not profit from the considerable natural elements that surround them: the sea, the mountains and the rivers.

Figure 5: Aerial view of Patras. (Source: Presentation V. Pappas, September 2012, ETH Zurich)



1.3.3 Transport infrastructure In general, the northwest Peloponnese and western Greece are the absolutely worst areas for connections to the public transport network, at the national as well as the regional level. Long-distance transport is mainly served by the highways. There are bus connections between the most important cities in the Peloponnese and Athens and via the new automobile bridge in Rio to central Greece .

Figure 6: Graphic print of the city with the Panachaikon Mountain Range. (Source: Presentation V. Pappas, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

1.3.2 Cultural history and tourism features Within a radius of ca. 100 km around Patras, there are many important archaeological sites: Delphi, Olympia, Vassai, Corinth and Mycenae. There are also many interesting Byzantine and medieval castles, churches and individual historic monuments and buildings. The coast of the northwest Peloponnese offers numerous recreational areas and a wide range of accommodation between small fishing villages and large hotel complexes. However, the plan-less expansion of the area that serves tourism purposes,- tourism is the main source of income for the population,-has lead in part to urban sprawl and the destruction of the landscape. In contrast, some of the mountain villages ,deserted by their inhabitants, present important cultural characteristics and a very interesting folk architecture. 10

Figure 7: Map of Greece with existing and planned national road transport network. (Source: Presentation A. Pantazis, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

Figure 8: Map of Greece with existing and planned railway transport network. (Source: Prsentation A. Pantazis, September 2012, ETH Zurich)



1.3.4 Population and demographics The population of the four prefectures of the northwest Peloponnese, i.e., Corinth, Achaia, Ileia, and Messinia, is approximately one million. Of the 270,000 residents that live in Achaia Prefecture, 66% of the entire population (177, 245) live in the city of Patras (statistics from 2011). In Ileia, in contrast, 75% of the population live in rural areas. The national population of Greece is mainly concentrated in the coastal regions. In most of the mountain regions, with the exception of the popular ski and winter resort Kalavryta, there are fewer permanent residents and those are mainly the very elderly. The last population census in 2011 indicated a population loss of 3.8% in Achaia and 17.2% in Ileia. (The average value at the national level is a 9.6% population loss between 2001 and 2011. In the mountain regions, it reaches up to 10%. The old-age dependency rate (share of residents over 65 years old in relation to those between 20â&#x20AC;&#x201C;64) is 22.83% in Achaia and 28% in Ileia. In the mountain regions, it climbs dramatically to ( 1

Figure 10: Population density in Achaia Prefecture. (Source: Presentation V. Pappas, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

1.3.5 Economy

Figure 9: Population development in Patras. (Source: Presentation V. Pappas, September 2012, ETH Zurich) Population analysis, outlines


1 ELSTAT; Greek National Office of Statistics 2011

The business and tourism sectors employ 60.4% of all employed persons in Achaia. 90% of the companies are in the coastal regions. The number of hotel beds available is 6268 in Achaia and 6095 in Ileia (data from 2004). 50% of all ship passenger transport between Greece and other countries takes place in the Patras harbour. The once important industrial sector in Patras was sharply reduced between 1984 and 1992. Agricultural production, despite falling tendencies, is still strongly represented. Citrus fruit, tomatoes, olive oil, and potatoes are the main products. In the business and tourism branches, as well as in agricultural production, the economy is based on small companies. Over 90% of the firms in Achaia employ 1â&#x20AC;&#x201C;4 persons. The overall picture of economic activity indicates that, despite the relative advantages of location, climate, and cultural and historical importance, the region is one of the least developed in Greece. In 2008, Achaia generated a scant 3% and Ileia just 1% of the Greek GNP (gross national product).

1.3.6 Goals on the completion of the railway line to Patras The following goals are dependent on the completion of the railway line to Patras: On the national level

–– To include important topographical features, mountains, rivers and sea in the new planned network of public spaces. –– To develop the area around the new harbour into a new economic centre. The design of the waterfront and the old city centre, including the north and south suburbs and their connection to the city centre, is a topic of the highest priority.

–– To reduce the existing East-West gap in the transport infrastructure of Greece. –– To form a city network that would connect the three important cities of Thessaloniki, Athens, and Patras with each other. It will also open the possibility to build up multi-modal logistics nodes of the harbour cities and a transfer of goods transport onto the tracks. –– To strengthen the role of the harbour city of Patras as the western gateway to Greece. On the regional level

–– To reduce travel time between Athens and Patras to well under two hours. This would make commute transport possible in the catchment area of the two metropolitan regions, which would relieve the core cities from pressure on settlement areas and auto transport. –– To link the settlement development of the regions in the catchment area (600,000–700,000) to the train stations on the line. –– To tie in the mountain regions through connection and construction at the regional and community levels of the public transport network. –– To promote the desired decentralisation. Electronic technology makes it possible to make work independent of time and place. Thus, the one-dimensional economic model based on commerce and tourism can be brought into question. Well-connected mountain villages could be the new work locations of the future. A mixture of agricultural, small production and manufacturing, processing firms, research units, and a concentration of a highly qualified work force should make it possible. On the city level

–– To win back the urban character of the city of Patras, which was an important commerce and export city in the 19th century using the railway connection as the catalyst. 13



Task description for the Teams

The central task of the teams is to develop alternative ideas for the railway connection between the city and the harbour of Patras to the main route, in relation to the possible redesign of the central area of the city, extending between the new railway-station of Agios Dionyssios in the north to the new harbour-site in the south.The key-point is to propose a long-term solution with forward-compatibility (i.e., where each step is compatible with the next and fits with future versions), which would make a future underground placement of the tracks possible, but in any case would not exclude it.

The observation perimeter stretches from the northwest Peloponnese, over the bridge from Rio into the relocation area of Antirrio (central Greece) in the north and the large urban agglomeration of Athens in the east.

The option of connecting the cities South of the Peloponnese should also be included in the ideas presented. Technical requirements should be respected and considered, e.g., city network, tunnel restrictions, water levels, etc. A cost suggestion for the recommended solution and the presentation of a timeline for the implementation is also desired. The central goal of the joint seminar week is to develop creative and maybe innovative ideas in a short time for a difficult and challenging task in the area of spatial and railway development. There is also an intention to conduct a «test planning process» on this plan as an EU project starting in autumn 2013. The results of the seminar week could be an important contribution to the definition of the scope of the work and, if necessary, to use the work of the participating teams from both home and abroad as a reference.


Expected Results

The study project will be conducted as an «idea competition» with ........... groups. One central task lies in the team testing the important building blocks of their total concept for its acceptability and ease of implementation.


Figure 11: Observation perimeter. (Source: Presentation V. Pappas, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

Figure 12: The bridge from Rio to Antirrio in central Greece. (Source: Presentation V. Pappas, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

Figure 13: Elaboration perimeter: The master plan of Patras (Source : Presentation A. Pantazis, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

The elaboration perimeter focuses on the harbour and coastal zone in the city area of Patras: from the new railway station of Agios Dionyssios in the north to the new harbour site in the south.

Ideas should be presented on three DIN A0 boards. 1. Situation evaluation and concept proposal Scale 1: 25,000 (region Patrasâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Rio) 2. Concept introduction Scale 1: 10,000 (urban area of Patras) 3. Concentration on a specific area within the elaboration perimeter. It can be thematic as well as spatial and can be freely selected. Free choice of scale : 1: 2000 or 1:1000 or 1:500





Organisation and Programme

The seminar takes place from 10 to 15 June 2013 in Patras, Greece. It is being organised jointly with the Technical University of Athens. About 20 students from ETH Zurich will participate, 10 students from the University of Patras and 10 students from the Technical University of Athens. Programme (The final programme will be set in May after coordinating with the representatives of the Greek universities.)

Tuesday, 11 June 09.00 12.00 13.30 15.00 18.30

Sunday, 9 June

19.00 20.00

Arrival in Patras in part by individual travel arrangements Hotel check-in in Achaia beach hotel in Rio



Welcome Dinnerbuffet in the garden of Achaia Beach Hotel


09.15 11.15 14.30 18.00 20.00

Welcome address Introduction of the Code Patras Project (City of Patras, OSE, Central Port Authority) Technical Tour of the City of Patras (incl. Lunch)

Lunch Bilateral discussion with the groups Group work Departure from the Uni Patras -Visit of the OSE worksites in Diakofto, Platanos, Rododafni-Egio Swimming in the area of Selianitika 20.00 Dinner in the area of Psathopyrgos Return to the Achaia Beach Hotel

Wednesday, 12 June

Welcome ApĂŠro

Monday, 10 June

Begin group work

13.30 17.30

Begin group work Lunch Interim presentations (6 groups, 10 min presentation, 20 min feedback) incl. break End group work Buffet

Thursday, 13 June 09.00

Begin group work End group work


Dinner in a seafood restaurant on the seal


Begin group work 12.00 Lunch Group work, continued End group work | Evening Free 17


Friday, 14 June

09.00 09.15 10.00 12.00 13.30 16.30 19.30

(With the representatives of the city of Patras, OSE, and Central Port Authority) Preparation work for the presentations Welcome from the professors and other welcome adresses Closing presentations Lunch Closing presentations, continued Conclusion of the seminar, comments of the professors and others Farewell dinner

Saturday, 15 June Full day excursion in West-Peloponnes 10.00

Departure from Achaia Beach Hotel

–– 11.30 –– Arrival in the archaeological site of Olympia –– 11.30 –– Guided visit in the archaeological site of Olympia and the museum –– 14.30 –– Swimming and lunch in the area of Katakolo 19.00

Return to the Achaia Beach Hotel

Sunday, 16 June 08:00 14:05 18

Departure from Achaia Beach Hotel to Airport El Venielos Flight to Zurich

Chapter 2


Basic Information on the Urban Development of Patras and the Northwest Peloponnese Region and the Development of the Railway System


General Information on Spatial Planning in Greece

Spatial planning is carried out on three levels in Greece: national, regional and local.


National level

The Ministry which is nowadays responsible for Spatial Planning (YPEKA) sets the strategic goals for the spatial planning development of the country and focuses, thematically as well as spatially, on areas of international and national importance. The planning horizon is 15 years. The basis for planning is the valid national spatial plan of 2008.

2.1.2 Regional level Greece is divided into 13 regions. Patras belongs to the region of Western Greece. Regional planning covers more or less the same scope as national planning, however, it mainly formulates planning goals and localises the areas at the regional level for the implementation of the stated goals. The planning horizon for regional plans is also 15 years. The valid regional plan of 2003 for the Western Greece region is currently in revision.

2.1.3 Local level The details of the building and construction plans of the towns and communities, the municipal master plans, and the land-use plans are worked out at the local level. Approval of the plans is always carried out by the supervising authority, i.e., the municipal master plans that are prepared by the municipal communities are approved by the authorities of the respective regions. This is also how regional plans obtain approval from the Planning Ministry.

2.1.4 Basic problems affecting spatial planning in Greece –– Spatial planning is generally understood to be product-oriented, i.e., it is concentrated on the production of individual plans rather than on pursuing a continuous planning process. –– The planning horizon of the politicians is four to eight years, i.e., one or two terms in office, which influences the actual planning horizon of the public authorities. –– The decision procedures are numerous and unclear. –– There is a lack of coordination among the actors about specialised and institutional boundaries.

2.2 Urban Development of Patras The history of the city of Patras presents a life span bigger than four thousand years. There are indications of habitation from the Mycenaean era. During the period of the Roman occupation and later during the Byzantine period, Patras was already established as an important commercial and trade centre. It is important to remark that after the Liberation of Greece on 1821 from the Turkish occupying power, Patras was the first Greek city officially planned in 1829 as a major port, in order to facilitate the commercial relation between Greece with the rest of European countries. In the second half of the 19th century, Patras was already an important export harbour, e.g., for the regional raisin production (40,000 tons of raisins exported annually). In this way Patras developed to be a flourishing urban center and acquiered the value of the second largest city in Greece.



Figure 1: Old photographs of the harbour in the 19th century. (Source: Presentation V. Pappas, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

Figure 2: Photograph of neoclassical buildings in the city centre. (Source: Presentation V. Pappas, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

Renowned architects of the time build imposing residences and villas in the southern suburbs of Patras for the wealthy Greek, English, German and French industrialists and merchants


Figure 3:Villas of the 19th century in the southern suburbs. (Source: Presentation V. Pappas, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

Figure 4: Series of city maps showing the historic development of the city from 1700â&#x20AC;&#x201C;1900. (Source: Presentation V. Pappas, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

The city expansion of 1885 was planned by the engineer Tzetzos and based on the first city plan of 1829 created by the engineer Voulgaris.

The public spaces, plazas and buildings of the first neoclassical period were kept and maintained and are today important sites in the urban network.



2.4 Most Important Current Problems in Patras –– The reduction of employment opportunities, now mainly in the tertiary sector due to current economical crisis but also as a result of de-industrialisation –– High unemployment rates –– Transport congestion through internal and international transport –– Poor quality of urban areas and urban environment –– Urban sprawl and destruction of the landscape mainly along the coastal-line


National Planning Aspects for Patras; The National Development Plan of 2008.

Figure 5: Photographs of the central city plaza, then and now. (Source: Presentation V. Pappas, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

The first railway opened in Patras in 1887, based on the plan of the enlightened and farsighted Prime Minister Ch. Trikoupis. The industrial buildings and warehouses were grouped around the first railway station north of the historic city centre, some of them of architectural interest. Today, these lands lie fallow after the massive de-industrialisation of the city in the middle of the 20th century.


Social Infrastructure of the City Today

–– Technical University –– Open University for continuing education –– Technological Institute –– Research Park –– Industrial Park –– Regional Hospital 22

Figure 6: National Map of Greece in Europe. (Source: A. Pantazis, title, Map No. 1, September 2012, ETH Zurich) ...spatial relationship of Greece to Europe

2.6 Regional Development; Regional Plan for Western Greece In the currently valid Regional Plan, the following goals were set in connection with the urban development of Patras:

Figure 7: National map of Greece; Gateway and development pole at the national level. (Source: Excerpt from the National Plan, pp. 2267)

–– Construction of the railway line Athens–Patras. –– Completion of the PATHE road axis. –– Construction of the western road axis Ionia Odos. –– Construction of «diagonal» road axis (Patras, Antirrion, Nafpaktos, Amfissa, Lamia, Volos), i.e., a second east-west development axis in central Greece (the other existing east-west axis is the Egnatia Odos in northern Greece. The construction of the road will connect two important harbour cities, Volos in the east and Patras in the west, and thus relieve the Attika region of motor-lorry traffic. There is still no plan for this road. –– Construction and completion of the harbour of Patras. –– Modernising and construction of one of the two former military air fields, either the one in Araxos, 25 km southwest of Patras in the prefecture of Achaia, or the one in Andravida, 45 km south of Patras in the prefecture of Ileia. Andravida operates today as a small civil airport, mainly for local flights. The projects mentioned are part of the National Business Enterprise Program 2003–2006 (S.20443).

In the currently valid National Plan, the following strategic goals have been set for the city of Patras: –– Strengthen the role of the city as a national pole –– Western gateway of Greece –– Commercial centre and multi-modal transport hub in the Adriatic development corridor –– Strengthen the city’s role as a cultural and tourism centre –– Strengthen the city’s role as a research and scientific centre as well as in the field of sanitation installations –– Assessment of the city’s advantageous location as a connection node for the two international north-south development axes, the so-called PATHE (Patras, Athens, Thessaloniki, Euzonoi) in the east and the Ionia Odos in the west (under construction), which should connect with the city of Ioannina in the north-west with the city of Kalamata in the southwest via the Rio-Antirrio bridge (S.2269) 23



The Master Plan for Patras

Figure 8: The new master plan for Patras. (Source: Presentation A. Pantazis, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

Figure 9: The historical city centre and the coastal area. (Source: Presentation A. Pantazis, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

In the current master plan for the city, the following projects have been declared priorities: –– Renovation of the historic city centre (no plan existing). –– An operation program for the opening of the city towards the sea. Although Patras has 39 km of coastal-line, this is not exploited as a location advantage for the city and its citizens. As mentioned in chapter 1.2, access to the sea-front is blocked (no plan exists). –– In agreement with the OSE plan, the underground placement of the railway line. The city’s main railway station, with a shopping centre, restaurants, office space and parking places, will also be set underground. At ground level, space for green areas will be kept free. The southern train station (Agios Andreas), in the area of the new harbour, will be kept at ground level. Recently, the underground railway-plan has been questioned from many sides, however, it is still a part of the official plan.


2.8 Railway Development in Greece

2.8.1 Some historical information In the middle of the 19th century, the then Minister President Charilaos Trikoupis managed to realise a very ambitious plan for the newly constituted Greek state: the development of the Greek railway network. In 1869, the first railway train travelled from Athens to Piräus. In 1831, after the official recognition of the independence of the Greek State from the Ottoman Empire, Thessaly was incorporated to Greece. The construction of the railway line from Athens to Larissa and Volos was important for political and military reasons. The railway line had to to connect Greece to the rest of Europe, while in the same time was important to facilitate army and ammunition transport to the Greek borders quickly and cheaply. Thessaloniki in Macedonia was freed only 80 years later.

m. The network is today disconnected, with the exception of a few parts operating only for touristic purposes(for example between Diakofto and Kalavryta) 2.8.2 Railway development today In recent years, the OSE, in cooperation with the EU, is trying to modernise the Greek railway network and build it up to international standards. The PATHE/P development axis (Patras–Athens–Thessaloniki–Idomeni–Promachonas) is part of the European Railway Corridor 22 (Athens–Thessaloniki–Kulata–Sofia–Kraiova–Budapest–Prague) and is therefore part of the core network of the Trans-European network.

An Italian engineer named Evaristo de Chirico played an important role in the construction of the railway line to Volos and to the mountain Pilion. His son, the famous Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico, who was born in 1888 in Volos, depicted the imposing stony railway bridge in Pilion designed by his father, in one of his metaphysical-surrealistic paintings. The integration of Peloponnese to the railway network played an important economic role. Though Peloponnese is a mountainous territory, also contains large, fertile high plateaus, as those existing for example, around the towns of Kalavryta and Tripolis, where intensive cereal cultivation takes place. In this way the interior of the Peloponnesus seems to be the granary of Greece. However, due to a lack of a road and railway infrastructure, inland grain transport was expensive. At that time, it was more expensive to transport grain from Kalavryta to Aigion (a harbour 40 km away) than from Odessa(in Russland) to Aigion. For this reason, in Peloponnese region was constructed not just a single railway-line, but rather a railway network that runs along the coastline of the peninsula as well as criss-crossing the inland areas. In 1886, the railway came to Navplion, in 1887 to Patras, in 1892 to Tripolis, and in 1899 to Kalamata. Technical and economic reasons have determined in the Peloponnese railway network a track width of 1.00m instead of 1.435

Figure 10: European Railway Corridor No. 22 (Source: Presentation L. Isaia, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

Of the 700 km of the new double track and partially electrified Patras– Athens–Thessaloniki line, 486 km (70%) are already complete. The two main projects in the construction phase are: 25


–– The 106 km part of the route Tithorea-Domokos in central Greece (budget 1.8 billion euros). Duration of construction: 1997–2015 –– The 71 km part of the route Kiato-Rododafni in the Peloponnese (budget 920 million euros). Duration of construction: 2006–2016 The expected reduction of travel times is: Athens–Thessaloniki 7h 30min

Before start of construction

4h 30min


3h 30min

End situation

Athens–Patras 3h 30min

Before start of construction


Today *


End situation

* (with two changes, one train - train in SKA station and a second train-bus in Kiato Station up to Patras) Figure 11: Greek railway network future plan, end of 2016. (Source: Presentation L. Isaia, September 2012, ETH Zurich)

According to information from OSE, construction will be carried out according to plan despite the economic crisis.


Participants: Technical University of Athens

Konstantinos Moraitis Professor for architecture, Technical University of Athens ca. 10 Students University of Patras


Alekos Pantazis Architect, spatial planner of the Region of W.Greece Irini Frezadou Architect, spatial planner NDS/ETHZ Christina Isaia-Keramida Consultant of administration of ERGOSE, Greek railway company

Vassilis Pappas Assoc. Professor for spatial planning, University of Patras

Athanasios Kapenis Head of Project Directorate I of ERGOSE

ca. 10 Students

Dimitris Sardelianos Transport planner, technical consultant of Mayor of Patras

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Z端rich

Prof. Dr. Bernd Scholl Professor for Spatial Development | ETH Zurich


Felix G端nther Director MAS and CAS Programs in Spatial Planning | ETH Zurich

Greece: Irini Frezadou Architect, spatial planner NDS/ETHZ

Dr. Rolf Signer Lecturer | ETH Zurich

Switzerland: Cecilia Braun Scientific assistent | ETH Zurich

Cecilia Braun Scientific assistent | ETH Zurich Hans-Peter Vetsch

Lecturer | ETH Zurich and railway expert

Dr. Thomas Ertel

Project Manager CODE24 | et environment

ca. 20 MAS Students