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Italian Operator of Greek Railways Plans High Speed Athens-Thessaloniki Link

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, FILE)

Trainose, the Italian company which runs the now-privatized Greek railways, is planning to launch a high-speed train called the Silver Arrow to cut the time for travel between Athens and the country's second-largest city of Thessaloniki to 3 hours and 20 minutes, taking more than two hours off the tedious journey, the Athens News Agency ANA said.

The train is due to be shown off at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Sept. 8, when Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras is due to speak and reportedly claim he's brought Greece toward recovery after reneging on anti-austerity promises and with the end of three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($376.75 billion) that expired on Aug. 20.

Ironically, he had vehemently opposed the sale of state assets before taking power and then accelerated them on orders of international lenders although some hard-core elements in his party still don't want any foreign businesses in Greece, which he said are crucial to recovery.

The train reportedly was already being sent from Italy to Thessaloniki to take test runs on a section of the track before being put into operation.

It will have a capacity of 480 seats but won't be put into service until electrification of the final 52-kilometer stretch of the rail corridor is finished, expected sometime next year. Built by Alstom Ferroviaria, the train can reach maximum speed of up to 250 kilometers (155 miles) per hour.