The railway from Thessaloniki to Bitola is a 219-kilometre long railway line, that connects the port city Thessaloniki in Greece with Bitola in the Republic of Macedonia, via Veroia, Edessa, Amyntaio and Florina. The line was opened in 1894, when the area was part of the Ottoman Empire. The section between the international border and Bitola is not used anymore, and as of 2013 passenger services are restricted to the section between Thessaloniki and Florina. The easternmost section of the line, Platy–Thessaloniki, is part of the important connection towards Athens and southern Greece.
The idea of a trans-Macedonian railway had existed since the 1850s when in January 1859 a Memorandum regarding the construction of the Salonica–Monastir (today's Bitola) line was signed. It however wasn't until October 1890 that the Ottoman Sublime Porte gave Deutsche Bank a concession to build the railway as a branch line of the Oriental Railways and to possibly further extend it to an Albanian port. The project headed by Baron Maurice de Hirsch started in May 1891 and was completed in June 1894. While at that time the practice of compulsory work was still in use, labor was cheap in rural Macedonia and the engineers were reported to be enthusistically welcomed.
The eastern terminus of the Thessaloniki–Bitola railway is the New Railway Station, Thessaloniki. Leaving the Athens–Thessaloniki mainline at Platy, it runs alongside the Aliakmon River, through Alexandreia and then passes through to Veroia, Naousa, and Skydra, before climbing to Edessa and then, along the northern shore of Lake Vegoritida, reaching Amyntaio. At Amyntaio the Kozani–Amyntaio railway branches off towards Kozani, serving Ptolemaida and the power stations of the national power company ΔΕΗ. The main line continues towards the city of Florina. At Neos Kafkasos, the international border is crossed, and after 219 km the city of Bitola in the Republic of Macedonia is reached. This short international connection is now disused, with all international traffic being routed via Eidomeni and Gevgelija.
The main stations on the Thessaloniki–Bitola railway are:
- New Railway Station, Thessaloniki
- Platy railway station
- Veroia railway station
- Edessa railway station
- Florina railway station
- Bitola station
The Thessaloniki–Bitola railway is used by the following passenger services:
- Intercity, Express and Regular services Athens–Thessaloniki and Thessaloniki–Kalampaka
- Local services Thessaloniki–Florina and Thessaloniki–Larissa
- "OSE - 2011 Network Statement".
- Bitola Station
- Gounaris, Basil C. (1989). "Railway Construction and Labour Availability in Macedonia in the Late 19th Century". Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. 13: 143ff.
- Hertner, Peter (2006). "The Balkan Railways, International Capital and Banking from the End of the 19th Century until the Outbreak of the First World War". Bulgarian National Bank: 23ff.
- "TrainOSE - 2013 schedules" (PDF).
- Gounaris, Basil C. (1993). Steam over Macedonia, 1870-1912. East European Monographs. ISBN 978-0880332774.