For someone who loves train travel like myself, nothing is sadder than the cancelling of services and the ruination of railway stations.
OSE, the National Greek Railways were the first victim of the Greek crisis and almost all but the most profitable of railway services were closed and went to dust. All international lines were closed, leaving Greece as an island for Interrailers who could only now arrive via the ferries from Bari and Brindisi to Patras. The lines to Belgrade, Sofia and Istanbul closed and the National Greek network effectively became the line Athens-Thessaloniki and Thessaloniki-Alexandroupolis with a slight offshoot to Kalambaka for the Meteora monasteries.
Only small tourist trains such as the Kalavryta rack-and-pinion railway or the Nestos valley train had remained.
On 12 May 2014 the first train to Sofia left Thessaloniki at 06:55 (7 hours, €16.8 one-way) and the Hellas Express to Skopje and Belgrade made it nine hours later at 15:52 (12 hours, €33.80 one-way to Belgrade) . Long may they continue to run.
But my heart goes out to the older lines that have disappeared like the metre-gauge line Athens to Patras (which is gradually being replaced by the glitzy private-funded Proasteiakos).
So let’s hear it for the old but beautiful stations of a Greece that seems so far away now which have been left to rot. These evocative pictures below are all from the old station at Corinth.