Παρασκευή, 26 Απριλίου 2013

Athens Metro, Alstom-Siemens EMU's 

   Today, i would like to present to you, the first generation of EMU's of Athens Metro lines 2 and 3. In 1998-9 the consortium of ADtranz, Siemens and Alstom companies supplied all the necessary parts to the Greek Shipyards and 28 trainsets were constructed to serve lines 2 and 3 of the new built, at that time, lines. As i am writing this article, they have already been in service for 14 years and have proven to be pretty solid and reliable pieces of machinery. Let's check them out...
    The six cars long EMU's were constructed in 1999 by the consortium of ADtranz-Siemens-Alstom and the Greek Shipyards. 28 trains totally serve lines 2 and 3 (Aigaleo - D.Plakentias) of the Athens Metro. They operate at 750 V DC, at a maximum speed of 80 km/h, and 1 m/second of accelaration. In terms of power, four out of six vehicles carry 16 motors of 153 kW each. Passengers are infromed about train stops by an automatic announcement system and each car is provided with fresh air via ventilators.

     Their external appearance looks solid, simple, yet a bit old fashioned, i would say. They are painted in a simple livery, based on alluminium silver, gray and orange colours. They feature an electronic destination display at each front, sliding automatic doors, 4 on each side of each car and warning signals at each cars' end, as they are not articulated trains for the passengers to be aware of the danger of falling between the cars.  

     The interior is simple and solid looking, as well. The basic colours here are the inox silver on the doors and door frames, gray and white on the seats and a soft pink colour which covers the window and seat panels. 
A general overview of the interior, notice the route maps above the doors
      The interior of each car is separated into seating areas and standing pasengers' sections. There are ten seating "booths" on each car (five on each side) and the rest of the space is used for standing pasengers. Each seating area includes four seats and the standing areas include handling rails and bus type handlings.

This is what a seating area looks like seen form the side
Another view of seating areas. You can also see the handling rails for standing passengers.

 After travelling with them for over ten years i can say that they have proven to be solid and reliable. They have certain disadvantages, though. They do not have air conditioning system, they are noisy and their suspension system does not offer the greatest comfort to the passengers, as they do not absorb much of the vibration the bogies produce. But again, their solid structural quality and their reliability are great advantages for these EMU's. Finally, here is a video tribute, produced by myself, starring the Alstom-Siemens EMU's.

Κυριακή, 24 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

Cab riding in the fog

     During the last week weather conditions almost all over Greece have been extreme. Last week i was on the regional train 884, travelling to Kalabaka and i had to chance for a cab ride. The locomotive was the standard ADtranz DE-2000 diesel electric, hauling all the loco-hauled passenger services of the Greek railways. Below the article, there is the video showing extracts of that cab ride. The first scene was shot as our train makes a brief stop at Aliartos station, at Viotia region, under thick fog. A trained trainspotters ear may hear the wheelsliping occuring as the driver activates the air brakes in addition to dynamic braking, as we enter the station. Fog and humidity made the tracks slipery. 
     Right after, we travel through the thick fog at a speed of 160 km/h making our way towards Livadeia station, under extreme caution for obstacles unforseen in this thick fog. Hopefully, the horizon clears as we approach the station. I hope you will all enjoy this video. 

Πέμπτη, 8 Νοεμβρίου 2012

Trainspotting at Afidnes station

     Afidnes (previously named "Kiourka") is a village, located at the northeastern part of Attica region, just 25 minutes off Athens by train. The village has a population of 2.500 people and is located one to one and a half kilometres north of the station. The station itself is a relaxing place, full of pinetrees and a very nice cafe and tavern lie just nearby. The owners have sucessfully rebuilt the old watering tower the station once used and it now attracts lots of people, especially on Sundays. The cafe is named "Watering tower". 
     The station is served by suburban trains only, serving the Athens - Halkida route, located at the 40,086 km milepost from Piraeus. Regional and InterCity services pass by. The building is a classic sample of Greek 1900's architecture (built in 1904) with beautiful stone built door and window frames and a classic roof. It once included station masters' room, waiting room and luggage room as well as a station masters' small residence. Since the line from Athens to Inoi had a signaling system installed in the 80's, the station has been unmanned since then. Although, due to signaling failures recently the station is being supervised by a station master again. The looks and the layout of the platforms have also been changed dramatically since 2004. It was then when all the suburban stations serving the Athens to Halkida route services had new, high profile platforms built as well as pedestrian bridges and elevators. This layout definitely upgraded the passenger comforts of the station but, to my opinion, the high profile cement platforms ruin the traditional look of the whole area. Automatic ticket machines provide tickets 24 hours a day. 
     Seen from a trainspotters' eye, Afidnes station is a pleasant, relaxing place to enjoy a nice rail excursion, just 25 minutes off Athens, enjoy a nice cup of cofee or a sandwich under the traditional watering tower, watching the trains passing by, all this accompanied by the fresh, clean air provided by many trees surrounding the station. 

A general view of the station area. Clearly seen here are the additons of the 2006 refurbishment, the pedestrians' bridge including three elevators and the high profile cement platforms. 

A close view of the station building and platform serving line n.1. Clearly visible are the stone built door and window frames on the upper floor. The plate indicates the name of the station in Greek (ΑΦΙΔΝΑΙ). 

The station building, overall. 

Two MAN 2000 DMU's, serving the suburban route from Athens to Halkida and vice versa meet each other at Afidnes station.
All the photos were, once again, kindly borowed from my brother. Always thank you!

Videos from my excursions at Afidnes station follow, as always...

Τετάρτη, 24 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Bralos...as nature

     High speed is fine, ideal for our times and beneficial for trains and passengers. But in Greece, a single track, non electrified, slow speed section of the main line from Athens to Thessaloniki is still alive, offering the passengers a close look of some virgin nature and nice landscapes. At mileage point 194,305 (meaning 194,395 kilometres from Piraeus of Athens) Bralos station is located. The station was built in 1904-5 when the tracks reached at this point and many villages nearby are served by it, such as Bralos and Polidroso (Souvala). The sinlge track that begins from Tithorea station and emds at Domokos is very curvy here and leads to one of the biggest rail tunnels in Greece, Bralos tunnel, located about 2,0 kilometres from the station and to a historic metal bridge, Papadia bridge. The tracks also present a high grade, up to 17 %oo , with direction to Lianokladi. Unfortunately all InterCity trains don't stop here unless there is a meeting at the sinlge line taking place. Only three pairs of local trains stop here daily, with a fourth one added each Sunday. It consists a beautifull, picturesque scenery not only for train enthousiasts and photographers but for any passenger too.
      In about three years from now the entire sinlge track part of the route will be replaced by a new high speed, electeified line and this part will be abandoned, unfortunately. Rail enthousiasts are making every possible effort to maintain the route, at least up until Bralos station. The rest of the route will not be operating because of the high amount of money required for maintenance. 

The facade of the station building,  a typical sample of stone built building of the early 20th century, including ticket wicket, masters' office and waiting room. The upper floor, once used as a dormitory was reconstructed in the past and has now been refurbished by rail enthusiasts who rent it. 

A general view of the station. You can see the classic in time roof, the partially stone built part of the building and from left to right, the main, single track, the first siding and the second siding. 

The curvy line, the steep grade and the trees keep company to some darkening clouds, one kilometer past the station...

Finally, here are all the videos of the excursions i have done in the area, so far, a natures' glory, trully...

Τρίτη, 16 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Kalabaka station and Meteora rocks, a world wide known station

Kalabaka is a city with a population of 21.280 people, at 2011, located at central Greece, at the northwestern part of Thessaly region. The reason it attracts 2.000.000 tourists from all over the world annually is, of course, the unique geological phainomenon, the rocks called "Meteora". The word stands for the rocks that seem to just hang from the sky (greek writing "Μετέωρα, μετέωρος). On top of some rocks lie Orthodox monasteries, some in operation and others not, all accessible via road of foot trail. The railroad station of the city was built in the 1890's, once belonging to the former "Thessalian railways" (1,000 m ) , now is the terminal station  of the branch line that splits from the Athens-Thessaloniki main line at Palaiofarsalos station. The sinlge track branch line Palaiofarsalos-Kalabaka (1,435 m) is 80 kilometres long. The station was rebuilt in 2001 when the line was reconstructed as a standard gaige one and is equipped with waiting room, toilets, masters' office, ticket office and other facilities. It has three platforms, one main track and two sidings (the second one is normally used for the locomotives to change direction). Unfortunately, many of the old installations of the station, including water and coal towers, used in the past for steam locomotives, a metric gauge turntable and two engine sheds, are left there derelict, due to the bad economic situation of the country overall. Also, despite being a popular touristic city, Kalabaka is now well and properly served ny train, due to the economics, again and bad policy of the Railways public organization. Despite all these, it is a beautifull little terminal station with friendly staff and the breath taking for some, soul reviving for others Meteora rocks at the background. 

The view of Meteora rocks and Kalabaka city from the drivers' cab (train 884 executed by an AEG DMU)

The main platform, the main line and a some sunshine

A general view of the station taken from platform number two

End of the tracks. On the right we see the abandoned engine shed and staff domritories, on the left stands another derelict engine shed

Train 885 executed by AEG DMU 520 155-255 on the main line

Adtranz 220013 reverses under heavy snow at Kalabaka (February 2012) 

Train 885 (ADtranz 220026 on the lead), Kalabaka station, Meteora rocks, that is the scenery

Here are some of my Youtube channel videos, all taken in Kalabaka station or Kalabaka plus other stations of the Palaiofarsalos-Kalabaka line. I hope you will feel like being there. For those of you who have allready visited Kalabaka, Trikala etc. i hope they bring back good memories to you.

Τρίτη, 11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

Changing traction locomotive at Domokos station...diesel traction vs electric traction

Domokos is a small mountainous town located at central Greece, at Fthiotis municipality, with a population of 1600. Just two to three kilometres off the town the small station is located. Traffic passenger here is ocassional and generally low. So, why does this station really matters? It is located on the main line from Athens to Thessaloniki, the most important rail artery of Greece, which is undergoing vast reconstruction. Due to this fact it is the point where the electrified section of the mainline to Thessaloniki begins. The rest of the route to Athens is non electrified and a new double, electrified line is under construction next to the old, single line that trains use now. Thus all trains travelling on the mainline have to change their traction locomotive there. Here, the ADtranz/ Bombardier 2880 hp diesel electric engines come "face to face" with the Siemens HellasSprinter 6900 hp electric ones. Extra locomotives are located here as reserves, in case of locomotive failures on the mainline. 

Domokos station, on the left ADtranz diesel electric loco 220032 and on the right Siemens HellasSprinter 120007 arrives hauling IC 57, ready to change locomotives

In the near future there will be no need for a locomotive change anywhere, because the new high speed mainline will be fully electrified. For now, though, it is a pleasure to see this "battle' each time a train arrives for a locomotive change. Diesel traction has millions of enthousiasts among the world of railfans (myself included) but electric traction is also impressive, cleaner, faster, more cost efficient and is definitely the future!
The question, diesel traction or electric traction for a train? The answer, both are here, pick up and have fun!

Two modern engines, two different types of rail traction, both serving the Greek railways

Here is the video i took including all the activity at the station...

All the pictures above were kindly borrowed from my brother's archive (KostasG). Thank you, brother!

Δευτέρα, 10 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

Introduction post, welcome to my blog

Dear friends, welcome! YouTube railfans and my subscribers may know me as Panagos89 or Panos G, from Greece. I have been interested in railways since i was a little child and thus i have been making excursions with friends - railfans to shoot videos of trains, railway procedures, rail landscapes and stations....something known as trainspotting! I have been doing it since 2008 and i opened my YouTube channel dedicated to railways in Greece back then. This blog will be linked to my channel and each time i make a railway excursion i will be posting videos, photos and information related to it. Efforts will be made to link all the previous videos to posts in this blog to. Whether you are a subscriber of mine in YouTube or not (subscribe if you like what you see) i wish you to have fun! Any comments or requests will be happily accepted via e mail.