The train will whistle in Crete
The possibility of a railway to operate in Crete is examined by transportation consultants, mayors and tourism businessmen on the island.
The plan for a rail network in Crete, which will link the areas of Chania, Rethymnon and Heraklion, returned strongly to the fore, and was one of the key issues discussed in the previous conference of expatriate Cretans.
The first step in creating a railway line in Crete is prepared by the Region of Crete, which plans to launch a feasibility study with pre-etching the track- and a functional study of the Cretan train. OSE is willing to assist in this effort.
Funds Regarding the cost of the project, experts estimate that an investment is less expensive than that of a modern motorway. In terms of capital -as stated- it can be obtained from actions of the EU or through Public and Private Partnerships (PPPs). The transportation consultants George Nathenas and Vassilis Economopoulos proposed a railway development in Crete, mainly the route Chania-Rethymnon-Heraklion, on which the train will travel in 50 minutes (20+30 minutes) while provided are extensions to Kissamos, New Kastelli Airport and Agios Nikolaos. Also a rail ferry can be tracked (ferry carrying trains) from Kastelli Kissamos in Neapolis Laconia. "This is a project that will contribute to economic, tourism and population growth of Crete" says Mr. Stratis Stavroulakis, a member of the initiative group that deals systematically with the case of promotion of the Cretan train.
Congestion The first study on the issue of the Cretan train is dating from the period of independence of the island (1898-1913)! Since then, the operation of a rail line was planned in the inland and not on the coastal line. "Today we are talking again about a new road that will traverse the island along the hinterland, so the issue is not new to be characterized as an elusive dream", says Mr Stavroulakis. "The railroad", he adds, "will not replace any of the existing ways of transportation, but will contribute to traffic congestion on the roads and the upgrading of the areas traversed, as it happens now with the road network."