Greece seeks funding from EU for urgent rail safety upgrades

Upgrades to Greece's railway system had previously been underway, but the country's economic crisis stalled the process.
Posted at 10:48 AM, Mar 07, 2023

Greece is seeking additional funding from the European Union for urgent safety upgrades to the country's rail network. This comes after public outrage over a deadly train collision that killed 57 people in Central Greece.

While the stationmaster had claimed responsibility for the collision, the root cause is still under investigation.

"What the Greek government wants is to find the real causes — why human mistakes were not caught in time," Alexandra Papadopoulou, Greek ambassador to the U.S., told Scripps News.

"Our system has checks and balances, and this is why we ask the European Union’s technical assistance in correcting the missing points in the security system," she continued.

A safety upgrade process for Greece’s railway system, which was partially funded by the European Union, had previously been underway. But Papadopoulou said the upgrades had to take a "second seat" during Greece’s economic crisis.

"The upgrading was not completed. There was only 70 kilometers left, and it was those fatal 70 kilometers that were missing in the system," she said.

Papadopoulou said the majority killed were young people — students heading back to classes after a long weekend.

"It was a tragic accident," she said.

A woman sits among black balloons during a protest outside the Greek parliament in Athens.

Stationmaster charged in Greece train crash that killed 57

The 59-year-old stationmaster allegedly directed two trains traveling in opposite directions onto the same track.