ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday chaired a meeting held at the Maximos Mansion with the leadership of the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE), the rail infrastructure management company ERGOSE, and train service providers Hellenic Train to discuss the “reboot” of railway services in Greece.
According to sources, the meeting discussed the time frame for restarting train services with additional safety measures and a strict adherence to the schedule for the implementation of a contract to install signalling and telemanagement systems, as well as a close inspection of the infrastructure and an increase of OSE and ERGOSE staff.
Announcement regarding the decisions taken are expected to be made on Tuesday afternoon by Minister of State for Transport and Infrastructure Issues, Giorgos Gerapetritis.
After wishing the new presidents and board chairmen of OSE and ERGOSE a good start, Mitsotakis stressed that a “reset” of the railways was not only demanded by the whole of Greek society “but is also my own personal wager and the content in my assumption of the political responsibility”.
“It is a recognition of the long-standing problems that have led to this accident but it is also a refusal to come to terms with its causes. We have all declared war on these causes and this is a war we must win,” he said.
Mitsotakis said his aim was to encourage them as they took on a difficult mission and two “wounded organisations”, while stressing that the top priority must be a safe plan for getting the railroads running once more, with possibly fewer services but as many safeguards as possible for those using and working on the trains.
The second crucial priority, the prime minister added, was the installation of the telemanagement system for the central rail axis.
Regarding the rail staff, he called on the new management to raise morale and workers to become the “new renewed face of our trains” while he noted that the dialogues recorded on the night of the accident “provoke anger and shame”.
“I personally refuse to believe that they are the rule, but even as exceptions they cost lives and for this reason such behaviour can no longer be tolerated,” he said.
The prime minister noted that the experts’ report and technical assistance from the EU will “allow us to draw up a medium-term and long-term plan for the railroads of 2030”, while he promised steady funding for OSE so that it can properly maintain the network and promised that he will not treat the issue as an arena for party bickering.
“Our opponent here is the deep state of anachronism…we must fight the islets that resist modernisation, we must fight our own worse selves,” he said.