By Fotis Fotinos
It is a controversy that has been lurking for several years. On the one hand, the OSE that announced in 2019 and, with effect from 2020, significant increases in infrastructure fees.
On the other hand, TRAINOSE (is the main user of the network) considers the new charges to be exorbitant, proceeding to two complaints to RAS for the charges for the two years 2020 – 21 and 2022.
RAS announced that the hearing for the first complaint took place, from the results of which the “fate” of the second will be judged.
OSE’s revenues come from only two sources: the state subsidy and the usage fees of the railway companies.
In recent years, the annual state subsidy amounts to 45 million euros, while in 2019 the fees for access to the railway network amounted to 16 million euros.
These revenues, according to rail market analysts, do not even cover the operating costs of the organization and therefore are not sufficient to cover the maintenance costs of the network.
The organization, with the completion of the electrification on the Athens – Thessaloniki axis, implemented in 2020 a doubling of fees compared to 2019, which, according to market executives, had remained at extremely low levels in recent years, with the prospect of stabilizing, in these levels, the next.
TRAINOSE disputes these charges, paying some of them to OSE. The railway company claims that the change in the cost model leads to charges much higher than those of 2019, without significant changes in the quality of the network.
According to him, the fees provided in the “Network Statement” for the period 2020-21 are not viable, even if the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are not taken into account.
For example, TRAINOSE estimates that the cost of access for the year 2020 amounts to approximately 14 million euros, while the implementation of the charges of the “Network Statement” of OSE for 2020 would bring a cost of approximately 28.65 million euros.
This issue is considered “thorny” for the Greek railway. On the one hand, it “touches” the viability of OSE, on the other hand, the financial results of the main user of the network and “client” of OSE, TRAINOSE.