GREECE: On February 5 the Greek Ministry for Environment, Physical Planning & Public Works signed a build-operate-transfer concession for the construction of a 9·4 km automated mini-metro in the city of Thessaloniki. The 20-year concession has been awarded to an international consortium led by French civil engineering group Bouygues SA (57·5%), with Bombardier Transportation (30%), VIA-GTI (7·5%) and Systra (5%). Total value of the deal is put at US$643m.

Line 1 will be entirely underground, and will run east around the harbour from the OSE main station via the university to A Papanastasiou, where the depot will be located. Work is expected to get under way in earnest later this year, with revenue services starting in 2004. Trains will comprise two articulated cars carrying a total of 600 passengers.

Bombardier’s share of the work is worth US$174m. This covers system design, engineering and integration, to be undertaken at Kingston, Ontario, and the manufacture of 36 articulated cars in Brugge to a design developed from the Docklands Light Railway B90/B92 fleet. Systra will act as lead engineering firm, and VIA-GTI will operate the line. Communications equipment will be supplied by Alcatel.