Athens Metro

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Athens Metro
Athens Metro
20140622-Anthoupoli-62D304 (7872) .jpg
Basic information
Country GreeceGreece Greece
city Athens
opening February 27, 1869
operator Statheres Sygkoinonies SA
owner Attiko Metro SA
Route length 86.7 km
Gauge 1435 mm ( standard gauge )
Power system 750 V = over busbars painted from above and 25 kV, 50 Hz ~
Stations 60
Lines 3
Shortest cycle 7.5 minutes
Passengers 1,353,000 per day,
493,800,000 per year
Public transport map of Athens.png
Route map

The Athens Metro ( Greek Αττικό Μετρό Attiko Metro ' Attic Metro' and Ηλεκτρικός Ilektrikós 'Electric' for Line 1) has existed partially since 1869, but it has only been possible to speak of a subway since electrification in 1904. Until 2000 it only had one line. In 2000 two more lines were opened, also with a view to the Olympic Games and the associated increase in traffic.

Since the opening of the second and third line and the complete renovation of the first, the Athens Metro has been one of the more modern systems in Europe. As a special feature, the central stations are designed in a museum-like manner with antique finds and those further afield are equipped with works of art by contemporary Greek artists. The “new” metro is used in Athens as a cultural space where exhibitions and various other events take place regularly. In 2011, the two separate operators of lines 1, 2 and 3 merged into one company.


The Athens Metro network is 89.7 kilometers long and has 64 stations. The trains run from 5.00 am to 0.30 am (line 1) and from 5.30 am to midnight (lines 2 and 3). During rush hour, there is a three-minute cycle on all three lines, trains run every five minutes during off- peak hours and every ten minutes during off- peak hours.

The important connection between Athens city center and Athens-Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport via Line 3 was interrupted for six months from February 14, 2009. The reason was the completion of the Agia Paraskevi station, which was left out due to local residents' protests during the construction of the route. It is now possible again to reach the airport with this line every half hour.

line route opening length Train stations
Athens Metro Line 1.svg
Piraeus ( Πειραιάς ) ↔ Kifissia ( Κηφισιά ) 1869 25.7 km 24
Athens Metro Line 2.svg
Anthoupoli ( Ανθούπολη ) ↔ Elliniko ( Ελληνικό ) 2000 17.9 km 20th
Athens Metro Line 3.svg
Nikea ( Νίκαια ) ↔ Airport ( Αεροδρόμιο ) 2000 43.1 km 24


Ilektrikós (line 1)

Monastiraki Metro Station , Line 1 platform
Today's Line 1 train at Thisío Metro Station in 1978
Trains with wooden paneling in 1979 in the Pireás metro station (line 1), the crossed-out destination sign indicates an intermediate terminus , in this case Patissia
Suburban railway (today metro line 1) between Thisío and Monastiraki, around 1980
electromechanical lever mechanism and display panel of the Omónia signal box in the museum

As early as 1869, the first section of today's metro line 1 was opened in the Greek capital Athens, which was the first railway in the country to connect Athens (station at today's Thisío station) with the port of Piraeus . The line was twelve kilometers long and single track, the trains were hauled by steam locomotives. The Bavarian engineer Nicolaus Zink was involved in the planning . Until 1895, the line to Omonia was extended, in the meantime the terminus was today's Monastiraki station. Before 1892 there were plans to expand the railway by another route to the Laurion mine (on the southern tip of Attica, route via Therikos, Keratia, Markopulo, Koropi, Liopesi and Chalandri). Although it was not possible to take over freight transport in any significant volume, in 1900 the income amounted to 1,533,300 and the expenditure to 614,147 drachmas.

From 1901 to 1904 the line was expanded to two tracks and electrified with busbars painted from above . The regular rail traffic was shifted to a new route, so that this route has only been used for local traffic since then. Fritz Steiner (1873–1955), an engineer whose parents immigrated from Switzerland, was appointed director in 1905. In 1925 a master plan for an Athens subway was drawn up. In the early 1930s, the city center was tunnelled with the new construction of the Omonia and Viktoria stations and the connection to the suburban railway leading north to Kifissia. Siemens supplied new electrical equipment for this in 1949/50. By 1957, the route of today's line 1 with a length of 26 kilometers and 23 stations was completed.

Further intermediate stations were built in the 1980s (e.g. Irini at the Olympic Stadium). Line 1 is called »Ilektrikós« (Electric) and is an operating company that is independent of the new subway (ΗΣΑΠ - Athens – Piraeus Electric Railway). Since then there have been numerous plans to build more metro lines, until the Athens city government decided to build two more lines.

Construction of lines 2 and 3

In 1991 the Olympiako Metro consortium won the tender to build two new lines , in which a total of 22 German, French and Greek companies were involved. The delivery comprised electrical and mechanical systems, vehicles, delivery and installation and had a total contract value of two billion ECU . Construction work began in 1992.

When the tunnel section for Line 2 between the Syntagma and Panepistimiou stops was being built at a depth of 24 meters in 1997 , the designers unexpectedly came across a five-meter cavity. Due to fears that further construction could collapse the large Panepistimiou road and the tunnel, construction was interrupted for months until the hole was filled again. Line 2 was then delayed on January 28, 2000 between the Sepolia and Syntagma stations . Line 3 opened in the same year between Ethniki Amyna and Syntagma . Numerous other stations were put into operation by 2004 because of the Olympic Games .


Architecture and art at the stations

Archaeological exhibits in Syntagma train station

When the route of today's Line 1 opened in 1869, the Athens Metro was a purely suburban railway that was also used for freight transport. The gradual expansion to a full-fledged subway started in 1904; the previous task was taken over by a parallel line of the OSE. Not only in terms of the technical equipment, but also in the design of the stations, the Berlin U-Bahn was initially used . This similarity can be seen to this day especially at the stations "Omonia" and "Viktoria", which were restored in 2003 and are listed next to "Piraeus" and "Monastiraki". The station “Thisío” is a curiosity: the reception building (from the time when the line was at ground level) stands across the lower platform, a similar situation exists at the station “Monastiraki”. This is due to the fact that these are the original terminus of the Piraeus Railway (still clearly recognizable from the representative design of the facade of the “Monastiraki” station). The stations on lines 2 and 3 are largely designed in a uniform manner, but the numerous works of art, which are mostly exhibited on the mezzanine or at the entrance and include almost all known Greek artists, are interesting. A highlight is the light shaft (design: Giorgos Zonglopoulos), which is on the third level of the Syntagma station. Historical finds are exhibited at the respective stations, most of them at the Syntagma and Acropolis stations. With the fundamental renovation of line 1 (2003/2004), all stations were rebuilt, with each being looked after by a different architecture office. Above ground is an imposing pedestrian bridge at Katehaki station, which was the first work of the Spanish star architect Santiago Calatrava in Greece. Finally, the small museum for the history of line 1 in the “Piraeus” station with numerous historical exhibits (including half an old Siemens Halske car) should be mentioned.


Both operating companies and the Proastiakos cable car have a uniform, very functional visual appearance in all stations as well as with regard to passenger information. Each line is assigned a color that is used on the respective platform. The stations of line 1 and the Proastiakos are equipped with furniture from the company Erlau, whereby the color scheme is adapted to the respective architectural overall picture. Attiko Metro already had an internet presence in 1997, which at the time won a European design award.

Security and cleanliness

Eating, drinking and smoking are not permitted. Compliance with the house rules is monitored by comprehensive video surveillance and staff at every station. In the event of non-compliance, there will be repeated warnings in the form of a standardized announcement with the corresponding point of the house rules, in the event of further non-compliance the security staff will appear and in extreme cases will issue a ban. During demonstrations, nearby subway stations will be closed. Pickpocketing by organized gangs has been a widespread problem since the late 2000s, particularly on the routes in the inner city area (Syntagma and Omonia stations).

Expansion and planning

Expansion plans

Line 3 is to be extended via the Egaleo - Chaidari extension, which is currently under construction, via Korydallos , Nikäa and the port to the Piraeus Municipal Theater. The tender was issued in June 2006. By February 2009, six joint ventures had applied for the construction contract. The first, 1.4 km long section to the Agia Marina station was put into operation on December 14, 2013. The second section, which included three more stations and extends to Nike, went into operation on July 6, 2020.

The three lines have largely exhausted their room for expansion. A study came to the conclusion that it would make more sense to build a separate, new line instead of two branches. This resulted in the planning for a fourth line (orange), which is to lead in a horseshoe shape from Alsos Veiikou through the city center via the northern Katechaki station to the Marousi station of line 1. It should contain 20 stations over a length of around 21 km and cost around 2.1 billion euros.

Long-term plans include an expansion to eight lines with 220 km and 200 stations.


Baume-Marpent / Siemens-Halske (until 1983)

Siemens / MAN car at the terminus in Piraeus (1981)

The first subway cars were delivered by Siemens when the company opened. A subsequent delivery planned for 1944 was no longer possible due to the war. After all trains were taken out of service by 1983, one train is still kept in working order today; the decommissioned cars were given away for use as local meeting points.

Siemens / MAN (1951 to 1997)

After the war damage had been repaired, the first twelve two-part railcars from Siemens and MAN were delivered in 1951/52, followed by a subsequent delivery of 16 more identical vehicles in 1958/59. Siemens / MAN supplied the last nine in 1968/69.

LEW Hennigsdorf Type G-II (1983 to 1985)

When the maintenance effort for the old subway cars had become very high in the 1980s, a solution had to be found quickly. Because of the payment in foreign currency, the offered DDR at short notice to remedy the situation: The for Berlin East Metro provided cars from LEW Hennigsdorf by type GI were adjusted as type G-II to the Athenians conditions and loaned to Athens. The conversions essentially consisted of raising the car bodies to adapt to the platform height, adding lateral profile compensating screeds and adapting train control and pantographs. After their return in Berlin, the borrowed cars were dismantled in GI, used until 1996 and sold to North Korea in 1997.

MAN / LEW type G-III (1984 to 2004)

Despite their susceptibility to failure, the low acquisition costs of the LEW trains made ordering an attractive option. A compromise was made: a new, tailor-made series based on the GII trains was designed by MAN in Nuremberg , and some of the technical equipment came from there. The cars were built at LEW Hennigsdorf in the GDR between 1983 and 1985. Due to the similarity to the GII trains, the cars are referred to as GIII . From 1999 the wagons were only used in rush hour traffic and gradually withdrawn until all wagons were scrapped in 2004.

Hellenic Shipyards / Siemens (1994 to today)

Hellenic Shipyards (at the time a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp) successfully applied for a license to build the previous MAN trains, which will henceforth be referred to as the A01 series. The Hellenic Shipyards and Siemens consortium also won a tender from Attiko Metro, the operator of lines 2 and 3.

Secheron Type D (2004 to date)

The South Korean manufacturer Rotem won the last tender for further subway cars that became necessary when Line 3 was extended to the airport . 14 units (D201 series) are only designed for 750 volts, while the other seven (D251 series) are also equipped for overhead line operation with 25 kV at 50 Hz.


Single tickets can be purchased from the ticket machines for 1.40 euros and are valid for 90 minutes, including changing to other lines (reduced price: 0.60 euros). Day tickets (4.50 euros) and five-day tickets (9 euros) are also available. A single trip to the airport costs 10 euros, reduced 5 euros. Three-day tickets for tourists cost 22 euros and are also valid on the way to the airport. Various group tickets are also available. An electronic ticket and validation system was introduced in February 2018. Part of the new system are barriers at the entrances and exits of the subway stations.

See also

Web links

Commons : Metro Athens  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  2. ^ Markus Klenner: Railway and Politics 1758–1914. 2002, p. 110.
  4. ^ Victor Röll, Carl Wurmb, Friedrich Kienesperger: Encyclopedia of the entire railway system, in alphabetical order, Volume 4, p. 1853.
  5. ^ Karl Engelhard, Franz Hilscher, August Löhr: Österreichische eisenbahn-Zeitung , Volume 26, 1903.
  6. H. Zürcher, in: Schweizerische Bauzeitung, 1955, p. 732.
  7. Horst A. Wessel: Dismantling, expropriation, reconstruction. Association of German Electrical Engineers, p. 208.
  8. Federal Foreign Office: Pickpockets in Athens! Retrieved October 17, 2018 .
  9. ( Memento of the original dated November 7, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Blickpunkt Tram , Edition 2/2007, page 103
  11. Current plan with all planned expansions ( memento of the original from November 16, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. ( Memento of the original from May 28, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  14. Printed matter 18/13782. (PDF) Berlin House of Representatives, April 3, 2018, accessed on April 19, 2018 .
  15. Technical information. ( Memento of the original from May 11, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Siemens Transportation Systems @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  16. Stasy - Urban Rail Transportation , accessed on 24 March 2018th