Rhomberg Rail Consult was appointed by the consortium constructing the first underground metro railway in Thessaloniki, Greece to perform a study on the construction of slab track.

The consortium, which consists of a leading Greek construction contractor and a group of Italian companies, is responsible for constructing the Thessaloniki Metro. They have to decide on the best and most appropriate slab track and design to be used for this project.

This challenging turnkey project of Thessaloniki Metro involves a twin-track machine bored tunnel, underground tracks, stations, an operational control centre and rolling stock.

Construction works to this project started in June 2006 and is envisaged to be completed in 2015.

The project consists of a few phases of which the first is the construction of 9.6km twin tunnel railway lines, 13 stations and on the southeast end of the line, a marshalling yard. The total estimated budget for this project amounts to approximately €1.1bn.

The second phase is planned to commence before final completion of the first phase. It will entail extensions to Kalamaria, which lies to the southeast and to Efkarpia in the north. The expected completion dates of these extensions are 2016 and 2018 respectively.

For this brand new project, the use of slab track is intended – primarily due to its efficiency in protecting nearby residential districts and ancient monuments from undesired vibrations.

The client insisted on alternatives to the earlier submitted vibration attenuation designs and installation concepts. Consequently, the consortium turned to Rhomberg Rail Consult and commissioned the company to do an independent detailed technical study on the planned slab track.

Rhomberg Rail Consult successfully conducted the study with some interesting findings and delivered these to the client in July 2011. The study entailed a comparison of the various planned slab track systems’ technical and cost benefits, including the effect of each construction method and logistics requirement. It also took into account the required vibration protection measures and installation restraints.

Based on the results of the specialised study, the client was able to make informed decisions regarding future steps for slab track design and planning the construction, which is anticipated to start in 2013.

Rhomberg Rail Consult is committed to supporting the consortium in Thessaloniki during the design phase and trackwork planning to ensure that the Thessaloniki Metro will have a sustainable and reliable slab track system for the future.