Mythical Southeast '17 - 16: Centaurs and Argonauts (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Ancient Southeast '17 - 15: Antiquity to Modernity around Athens (50 p.)

The video for this part (please set to 1080p quality / full-screen mode):

October 22 2017

Meeting of engineers: "Do you know what we don't have yet?" - "What?" - "A railroad line ON the beach!" ...

Panorama of the extreme rail enthusiast vacation spot near Megara with Proastiakos 1307 Kiato - Athens. To the top right the meter gauge line towards the Peloponnese.

Well-maintained memorial below the old rail embankment.

Rural areas sometimes feature collective mailboxes, or the mail is just delivered to the central tavern.

From the taxidrome back to the sidirodrome - a Desiro EMU on the coastal line.

Train 1306 passed the anglers on its ride to Kiato. Above the train, on the old line, lovely pictures were possible in the past as well, for example:

I jogged back to Megara station, no time to enjoy the beach anymore.

I caught train 1309 back to Athens. At Asprópyrgos - with connection to the Neo Ikonio port railroad - an MLW double header waited with container load, even on a Sunday.
At Athens Central, posters were advertising the new electrification of the line to Piraeus.

Meeting of Desiros cleaned from graffiti.

The old main platform, nowadays only a track for construction vehicles ends here.

Athens Larissa Station - now renamed "Athens Central" by operator OSE - actually of small town dimensions.

Inside the metro, the old name still prevails.

Works of art and one the newest trainsets delivered by Hanwha-Rotem in 2014.

A first generation unit by Alsthom-Siemens-ADtranz from 2000.

On Karaiskaki Square: Van Hool A300T/Sfakianakis trolleybuses.
Later at Tithorea: Abandoned OSE A251-261 (eleven Hungarian M41 (currently class 418) had been delivered in 1982 by Ganz-Mávag).

After lunch, we returned to the station for IC 56 departing at 2:18 p.m. towards Thessaloniki. However, these pictures were taken four hours prior with IC 52.

A lady was expecting this gentleman (actual roles not quite clear) in the cab of 220 011 (ADtranz DE2000, built 1997 - 2004, original designation A471-496).

IC 52 was double headed by 220 017. I did not have time to change platforms as departure whistles were already sounding. To the left in the back you can see the old station and platforms.

Graffiti have been the OSE long distance livery for more than a decade, get used to it. The "Kioleidika"-long distance cars are based on an Austrian SGP modular coach design, built from 2004 by companies N. Kioleidis and Hellenic Shipyards in cooperation with Bombardier and Siemens including five versions: 2nd class open car, 2nd class with compartments, 1st class, 1st class with luggage compartment and dining car.

I had booked all long distance journeys in advance, which is very simple:
You can exactly choose your places on a seat plan, I always took a compartment if possible. Our IC 56 soon arrived from Rentis depot, until Lianokladi we had the compartment to ourselves, then a young guy joined us who lost his earphones and crawled around the floor to find them. I just filmed most impressions during the trip as I would later visit the most interesting spots on the ground anyway. A part of the trip the more interesting views were on the aisle side where people squeezed past on the way to the dining car. From Lianokladi to Domokos it was preferable to stay in the compartment on the left-hand side.
While the practically finished newly built line Tithorea - Lianokladi through 5.5 mile Kallidromo Tunnel is unremarkable compared to the old mountain line, the new northern section across the Othris Mountains will turn out quite spectacular with lots of photo opportunities in the future. The bridges down to the Plain of Thessaly are also photogenic - one near Ekkara still is under construction.

Crossing delayed IC 59 before reaching Ekkara cost time, also our diesel 220 022 was switched to electric class 120 at Palaeofarsalos. Cumulated delays Athens - Thessaloniki amounted to 30 - 60 minutes, mostly due to an unrealistically planned timetable. Current delays for today can be queried by using the ticketing tool, sometimes values are not updated.
About half an hour delayed, we reached our destination for the evening, Larissa. Above the plain the silhouette of Mt. Olympus sat enthroned. A female taxi driver took us the the Park Hotel in the center.

October 23 2017

Next morning after a nice breakfast buffet we took another taxi to Hertz, where a brand new Peugeot 208 waited for me. Originally, I had booked it for three days, but since the throughs of a low pressure area would not pass by until Thursday I extended the rent to the full week. That way we did not immediately split ways but spent two vacation days including some sightseeing together. On the other hand, I had to postpone a few stops on the way home to next year - my first and only visit to the Greek mountain line, which very soon will be lost forever, definitely had priority.
After a stop to get gas we drove on the freeway to Volos, then negotiated the sharp corners of my first Greek mountain road up Pelion Peninsula. Our destination was THE typical Ottom... Greek village Makrinitsa, extending over 1500 feet of altitude on Pourianos mountainside above the city of Volos. The car has to be parked on very limited space at the village entrance.

Makrinitsa almost completely consists of mansions featuring stone roofs in typical Pelion style. The Pagasetic Gulf in the background.

We only saw few tourists outside the season, these ladies attended a wedding.

The street is lined with souvenir shops... I did not know baseball was popular in Greece, obviously an amateur league had been formed in the 1990s prior to the 2004 Olympic Games.

The village square with centuries-old planes - former prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos had called it "Balcony of the Pelion".

The church had been erected during Makrinitsa's heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries using parts of a medieval monastery.

Probably also parts of a mosque.

We enjoyed some sun-rays, Volos down below.

A typical roof construction.

We followed these stairs to a café... which was found a few "levels" deeper than expected. We were in luck, as only guests the food took a while but was excellent.

Entering Portaria, you encounter the "Path of the Centaurs" - facing such surroundings these myths are easily comprehensible.

At the seaside we came across the disused tracks of the narrow gauge Pelion Railroad.
The museum section Ano Lehonia - Milies is operated on October weekends, I knew it could not be included in this trip:

It rained, yet locals still were swimming in the sea.

2004 - 2007 there had been museum traffic on this nice coastal line as well, but it was never repaired after storm damage.

Due to the rain we did not continue along the peninsula, Volos archaeological museum would have been very interesting - of course it was closed on a Monday. A harbor walk always is nice, though.

We sat down at a quayside tavern - the sun emerged as it was Mythos o'clock! Although my stomach still was full from lunch, I could not withstand trying some of the delicious seafood served by the sympathetic landlord.

The Argonauts are supposed to have embarked on their epic journey here.

On the way to my Volos Palace Hotel I checked out the terminal station of the branch line from Larissa.

A standard gauge track once had led to the port.

The neoclassical station building is very picturesque, it had been constructed in 1884 by rail engineer - also responsible for the Pelion Railroad - and later director of the Thessaly Railroad Evaristo De Chirico whose famous son Giorgio was born in Volos.

A small railroad museum has been established here.

220 025 stabled next to construction vehicles. The DMU from Larissa was only scheduled to return after dark.

Narrow gauge track of the Pelion Railroad on the station square.

Next time: something completely different! :) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.