Since the mid-1990s the Greek government has been redeveloping its railway system. This is not just renovation or electrification. Much of the route is being totally rebuilt, with large sections of new alignment and major bridge and tunnel work, including one tunnel project of more than 9km.
The rail system, dating to the late 19th century, is in two parts. A conventional gauge route runs between Thessaloniki in the north to Athens but is fairly limited with many single-track and slow sections through mountains. This key route will be completely double-tracked and electrified. Further single-track links will be upgraded to Turkey and Idomeni on the former Yugoslavian border.
A metre gauge line runs from Athens to and around the Peleponnese peninsula. This will be replaced with conventional line to Kiato and the narrow gauge route will be upgraded over the remaining lengths.
Work is funded by the Greek government and the European Union Community Support Fund programme. The target is to bring the system into line with European standards, making it part of the continent-wide network.