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Published by membersonly, 2018-03-29 03:26:19


1st April 2017

April 2017 BLNI Extra No. 21 – Italy (2)

[C8] Italy - Formia to Gaeta reactivation progresses
This 9.2 km branch runs from Formia, on the classic coastal line from Roma to Napoli, to Gaeta which is a
seaport and tourist centre on the Mediterranean. Passenger traffic ended on 24 September 1966 and
freight traffic ended on 1 July 1981. Between 2005 and 2007 work was undertaken to restore the line with
new bridges constructed and the track ballasted. However, politics intervened and work stopped three km
short of Gaeta. Rails were laid on the first section and on 29 April 2016 the first six km were symbolically
reopened with a small locomotive. The Consorzio di Sviluppo Industriale del Sud – Pontino have purchased
the line, but are still struggling with the financing of the reconstruction of the final 3km into Gaeta. They
have tendered for a study of road and rail integration in the area, with bids due by 15 March 2017. The
plan is for a single-track branch, electrified, with a crossing point at Bevano. Line speed would be 60 km/h
with passengers to a rebuilt Gaeta station and freight to a new intermodal terminal.

[C9] Italy – Hope for the southern line into Matera
Ferrandina-Pomarico-Miglionico is on the railway between Taranto and Potenza. A 950mm gauge railway
used to take a slow and circuitous route from here to the town of Matera, but this closed in 1972. There
have been two attempts on a project to build a more direct standard gauge line from the station to
Matera, the first in 1986, and the second in 1997. Both were stopped due to geological problems, although
in true Italian style there is a station at Matera La Martella, but no tracks. Though the course of the line
appears in the S&W Eisenbahnatlas Italien, most observers had given it up for dead. However, the
announcement that Matera would be the European Capital of Culture in 2019 has led to calls for the line
(about 20km total) to be completed. Efforts are being made to find the finance, so just maybe it will
actually happen.

[C10] Italy – Observations on the Ferrovie Trento Malé
The new terminus at Mezzana looks very much as if it is to be the end of the line for the foreseeable
future. The main station building would not have to be demolished if the line was extended, but the
concourse and the station forecourt across the end of the tracks look very permanent. The previous
terminus, Marilleva, is now a request stop. A new depot has been built at Croviana, following which the
line to the old terminal station at Malé has been lifted. Trains used to be stabled there. A new
underground alignment came into use at Zambana in 2007. Work is under way to put the adjacent section
of line through Lavis underground as well. Rust and vegetation indicate that the standard gauge line to the
Whirlpool factory on the north side of Trento, involving a section of mixed gauge, has not been used for
some time. The EuroCity trains via Brenner, now operated by Ferrovie Nord Milano within Italy, obviously
call at the FS station in Trento. However, if you want to buy a ticket, you have to purchase it at the Trento
Malé station, which has a DB agency.

[C11] Italy – The Circumvesuviana branch to Acerra
The Circumvesuviana branch from Pomigliano initially ran just to the Alfa Lancia factory, where there were
two stations, both underground, at Ingresso 2 and Ingresso 4. Trains ran only when shifts were changing,
but there was nothing to stop others from using the trains. When the main line at Pomigliano was diverted
from ground level to an alternative alignment on a viaduct the connection from the branch had to be
reconstructed as well. The line has since been extended from Alfa Lancia Ingresso 4 to Acerra, but quite
why is unclear. The station is located on the edge of the town, nowhere near the Trenitalia station. Trains
run all day, but only call at the Alfa Lancia stations when there are shift changes. Off-peak traffic was
noted to be slight. For part of the way from Alfa Lancia the railway is in the open, but the terminus at
Acerra is underground. The station is far from welcoming. The four platforms are in a dank and gloomy
chamber, where water leaks through the ceiling. Two of the platforms are being used to store derelict

rolling stock. The surface level building is quite stylish and, most unusually for a modern station, includes
two houses. A plaque suggests that the extension opened in 2005.

The dungeon-like station at Acerra, where the train to work the 16:18 to Napoli awaits departure amid derelict rolling stock on 2

[C12] Italy – Deviations on the Circumetnea Railway and progress on the Catania Metro
Since your International Editor travelled the Circumetnea railway in 2002, there have been no less than
five major deviations constructed. Going clockwise from Catania these are; the Variante di Scalilli (opened
21 September 2009), Variante di Santa Maria di Locodia (opened 20 September 2010), Variante di
Biancavilla (opened 29 July 2015), Variante di Adrano (opened 19 September 2011) and Variante di
Solicchiata (opened in 2011). Finding distances has proved difficult, but they are substantial, so he knows
he has to go back and do the line again! No less than six stations are now underground between Paterno
and Adrano, and the work has included provision for regauging and electrification ready for inclusion in the
standard gauge Metropolitan di Catania at some point in the future. Meanwhile the Metro was extended
southwards from Galatea to Stesicoro on 20 December 2016. It was originally planned to open on 30 June
2016, but this was delayed due to construction problems and legal disputes. The Metro is also being
extended westwards to Nesima, broadly following the course of the Circumetnea, but in tunnel. Opening
had been planned for the same date in June 2016, but is now scheduled for spring 2017.

[C13] Italy – An exploration of the Translohr system In Venezia
A four-night stay in Venezia (Venice) on a package tour gave your correspondent a good chance to play
truant and sample the two-route ACTV (Azienda del Consorzio Trasporti Veneziano) Translohr tram
network. Two routes cover the T-shaped network, focussed on Mestre Centro on the mainland. On 20
December 2010 the first section opened was the 6.3 kms leg from Sernaglia through Mestre Centro to the
Monte Celo terminus in Favaro. On 22 September 2011 a short section opened beyond Sernaglia to the FS
station, the latter existing only until 12 September 2014 when the route was extended by 3.7 kms, through
a subway under Mestre FS station, to Panorama in the district of Marghera. Finally on 16 September 2015,
the trunk 8.8 kms section from Mestre Centro opened across the main causeway access to Venezia
Piazzale Roma. This extension involved a revision of the route structure. The previous solitary Panorama to
Monte Celo service was truncated to terminate at Mestre Centro (Service T2), with the Favaro to Mestre
Centro service continuing southward across the causeway as Service T1. On the trams, the three termini
are identified on the destination indicators by the respective districts, not the stop designation.
Venezia/Favaro/Marghera, rather than Piazzale Roma/ Monte Celo/Panorama.

Translohr trams run on rubber tyres with a central guide rail. In addition to Mestre/Venice, Translohr trams
operate in Clermont-Ferrand, Medellín, Tianjin, Shanghai, Padova and Paris. The ACTV fleet comprises
twenty units, each with four sections.
This was your correspondent's first experience of Translohr travel. The 14:08 departure from the three-
track stub terminus at Piazzale Roma was full-and-standing, dominated by Venetian schoolchildren,
presumably heading to playing-fields on the mainland. The tram tracks run on the outer lane of the two-
lane dual-carriageway of the four kilometres Ponte della Libertà causeway, the Mestre-bound track
flanking the four-track FS railway. The outer lane is shared with other road users. Reaching the mainland,
the tram infrastructure becomes quite complex, often on separate alignments through a sequence of
junctions and roundabouts, although merged when crossing the two-channel Canale San Giuliano. This was
not your correspondent's first journey "under the wires" on the road causeway, having used the trolleybus
service between Mestre and Venezia, way back in 1964. Alas the Mestre/Venezia trolleybus network
closed in 1968. The first stop, San Giuliano, is roughly 5½ kilometres from Piazzale Roma. The outbound
and inbound tracks are separated by a 60-metre wide grass enclave, the outbound running on a
segregated kerbside alignment. At the north end the two tracks merge through a brief stretch of
segregation, to enter Viale San Marco, in which there is a sequence of seven stops before reaching Mestre
Centro. Here T1 makes a 360º clockwise circuit of Piazzale Cialdini, with tram-only side platforms on its
north side.
Exiting the piazzale, the Favaro and Venezia tracks are within touching distance. Street-running continues
throughout, until reaching the segregated terminus at Favaro Monte Celo, beyond which the tracks
continue to a turn-back crossover and the tram depot. Returning to Piazzale Cialdini, a brief exploration
revealed a rather fascinating layout, fortunately well-depicted on the ACTV website. In addition to the T1
platforms A1/A4, there is a single-track stub platform A3, at which a timetable displays a solitary daily
service - at 00.58 to Venezia! Curiously this service does not feature in the T1 timetable on the ACTV
website. Your correspondent opted not to lose any sleep in his comfortable Venice hotel by making a
nocturnal expedition to confirm the accuracy of the bizarre oddity. A future challenge for any dedicated
track gricers!

Map courtesy of UrbanRail. Visit

The timetable on display at the A3 Piazzale Cialdini stub platform for which the phrase ‘sparse service’ definitely comes to mind.
Gricers requiring platform A3 would doubtless make the effort.

For a first-time visitor, the boarding point for the T2 service to Marghera was not immediately obvious.
Pavement-located A2 boarding-point is tucked out-of-sight, around the corner, in the southernmost leg of
Via Cristoforo Colombo. The StreetView scene in GoogleMaps is dated June 2015, at which time the
current shelter did not exist. Prior to the extension to Piazzale Roma in September 2015, the Favaro-
Marghera service would have used platforms A1/A4. Reversal of the T2 service at Mestre Centro is made
by terminating trams taking a facing crossover (just off the edge of the ACTV plan). The layout at Mestre
Centro precludes any direct running of a Marghera to Venezia service. Due to shortage of time, the
Marghera service was only explored as far as Giovannacci, the first stop beyond the 400-metres dive-under
through the ACTV stop below the FS station. A subsequent GoogleMap exploration reveals that
immediately before the Panorama terminal there is a short section of single track before entering the two-
track stub terminal.
Regaining Mestre Centro, a final journey took your correspondent back across the causeway for a brief
photo-stop of the Venezia terminal.
North of San Giuliano, street-running is the norm, albeit many sections were probably tram-only, although
cyclists were frequently encountered. In both directions crossing the causeway, advantage was taken of
running at the 70 kph speed ceiling. Both on the causeway and elsewhere, running was often slightly noisy
and not as smooth as a conventional tramway. Nevertheless the Translohr was serving a very useful role,
especially on the Venezia-Mestre leg.
Route map, plans of Venezia Piazzale Roma and Mestre Centro, plus access to T1 and T2 timetables can be
found via

Marghera-bound Route T2 tram awaits departure from Stop A2 at Mestre Centro, having traversed the facing crossover in the
foreground. The road roller is not blocking any movement, the track below it only being used for late-evening empty workings to the
Favaro depot.

[C14] Italy – The Padova Translohr tram

Whilst changing trains a member was able to take a picture of a Translohr tram calling outside the main railway station in Padova.

[C15] Italy – Trains run from Portomaggiore to Dogato
This enormously delayed opening finally saw trains start running on 3 October 2016. In the current
timetable (
trains leave Portomaggiore M-S at 07:25, 13:45, 14:47 and 18:15, while trains leave Dogato at 06:58,
13:16, 14:16 and 17:46. Some trains offer connections to/from Codigoro and Bologna.
The line was recently visited by a member who comments as follows. The recently opened FER line from
Portomaggiore to Dogato should have been cheap to build. It runs through countryside as flat as a
pancake, with just a few modest bridges and culverts over water courses. The few roads are all crossed by
means of level crossings. As is usual on minor railways in Italy, there are no lineside fences. This economy
is just as well, because your correspondent was the only passenger in either direction on an afternoon
round trip. Most FER passenger trains are worked by modern units, but an ALn668 diesel unit almost fifty
years old had been turned out for the Dogato shuttle.

Railcar ALn668 015 and trailer Le 880 033 wait to work the 14:16 Dogato to Portomaggiore on 27 February. The landscape is typical
of the line and indicates the likely level of local custom!

Another member visited this line on 21 March and took the 14:16 Dogato to Portomaggiore service. He
was also the only passenger. However service withdrawal in the near future might be considered unlikely,
as presumably some local politicians have been involved in the opening of the line and would not
appreciate a rapid closure which might damage their own reputations. Nevertheless, best not to linger.....
[C16] Italy – The new high speed line to Brescia
The high-speed line to Brescia leaves the Milano – Treviglio direttissima at Bivio Casirate. The possibility of
an eastbound connection from Treviglio to the linea AV/AC is allowed for by a concrete flyover crossing the
adjacent autostrada. At the future junction of the Brescia and Verona lines, the westbound track from
Brescia flies over the formation of the Verona route. The junction of the linea AV/AC with the old main

line west of Brescia may be provisional, because the formation for an additional two tracks continues for
some distance eastwards. (NB: It appears that official designations are direttissima = DC high-speed line
that can be used by all trains and linea AV/AC = ac electrified high speed line).

[C17 Italy – Miscellaneous observations
There keep being proposals to re-open the long (78 km) branch line from Sicignano to Lagonegro. As seen
from the main line to Potenza, the trackbed is heavily overgrown, though the track has not been lifted.
However, it is now most unlikely that the track is capable of use and the line would have to be completely
relaid to be of use for a passenger service.
At Bari FS work is still under way on the cut-off between Modugno and Bitetto. The formation is complete,
electrification masts erected and some track has been laid at the Bitetto end of the line. However, work in
the Modugno area seems not to have advanced far beyond site clearance.
At Reggio Emilia the FER line from Guastalla has been extended a short distance eastwards and runs round
the north side of the FS sidings and then parallel with the main line, but with no connections, to the
outskirts of the town. At the end of the line there is a three-platform station called S Lazzaro. This is
served only at “peak” times. On a Saturday trip late in the afternoon, the only passengers were ones going
to Guastalla, who boarded at Reggio Emilia rather than waiting in the open for the train to return from S

[C18] Italy – Speeds increased on new Ligurian coast line
The new line from Andora to San Lorenzo was inaugurated on 11 December 2016 with new stations at
Andora , Diano and Imperia. The line is 19km long of which 16 km is in tunnel. The old line which followed
the coast closed at the same time ending railway activity at the stations of Andora, Cervo-San Bartolomeo,
Diano Marina, Imperia Oneglia and Imperia Porto Maurizio. Initially speeds on the new line were a
maximum of 120 km/h, but following authorisation by the National Agency for the Safety of Railways from
5 March this was increased to 160km/h. A further increase for medium and long-distance trains (InterCity
and Thello) to 180 km/h will follow.
A member travelled the new line on 22 March and found the line (which is mostly in tunnel) more
interesting than anticipated. The run from Savona to Andora gives a feel for the now closed railway, with
single track, trains waiting in stations to cross, glimpses of the sea between apartment blocks in urban
areas, typical seaside seafronts and, of course, some fine running by the sea. This ends at the new Andora
station which is elevated to allow the new line to enter the first tunnel. The old line has been lifted at this
point. The two new stations, at Diano and Imperia, are both on viaduct and the sea is nowhere in sight as
they are considerably further inland than the stations they have replaced. The join with the old tunnel near
San Lorenzo al Mare may still be present, but flashing by at 160km/h makes it difficult to spot.

[C19] Italy - Milano area observations
The Swiss trains to and from Malpensa use the new curve between the FS and the Ferrovie Nord Milano
lines at Busto Arsizio. The divergence is north of Busto Arsizio FS station. There is also an east-facing curve
towards Saronno, but this is blocked by a temporary buffer stop. According to station name signs, both
stations at Busto Arsizio are called just that. The ‘FS’ and ‘Nord’ suffixes appear to be a means of
distinguishing the two in timetables. Indeed, Busto Arsizio Nord station is on the south side of the town.
The west curve, towards Novara, off the Malpensa Aeroporto branch has no advertised passenger service
and the rails are sufficiently rusty to indicate that no trains use it at all. This is surprising, because a service
from Novara, and even Torino, to the airport could be popular. The extension from Malpensa Aeroporto
Terminal 1 to Malpensa Aeroporto Terminal 2 is quite long and mostly in an open cutting. It appears to
follow the western and northern boundaries of the airport. Malpensa Aeroporto Terminal 2 station is
underground and not at all conveniently located for the airport terminal building. Passengers need to walk
a considerable distance in the open, including crossing the dual carriageway that accesses the airport car
park. There are no over-run tunnels or sidings beyond the station platforms, suggesting that no further
extension is intended. However, it would only require a few km of construction, mainly through open
countryside, to complete a loop to the main line near Gallarate. The upgraded and electrified line from
Saronno to Seregno includes a long section of new construction at the Saronno end. As previously, the line
branches west immediately south of Saronno station, but instead of crossing over the main line, it loops

round the south side of the town. The original bridge still spans the main line. The new branch tunnels
under the main line at Saronno South station, where it has low level platforms. The original formation is
gained short distance west of Ceriano Laghetto. There is a goods loop at Groane, but the private sidings
there are no longer used and that at the west end is disconnected. A new station has been provided at
Cesano Maderno, where the Saronno to Seregno line crosses over that from Milano to Seveso. How
residents of Saronno are meant to know that they now have a train service to Seregno is unclear.The trains
run through to Albairate, south west of Milano, and are advertised on timetable posters and departure
sheets at Saronno as all stations to Albairate. However, there are no maps or lists to show where the “all
stations” are.

[C20] Italy – The Ferrotramviara situation after the collision
Following the head-on collision between two trains on 12 July 2016, the Italian railway safety authority has
imposed various restrictions on Ferrotramviara, until it is satisfied that there is an adequate signalling and
safety system on the line. Under a timetable implemented on 4 October 2016, there are no trains on the
single-track section between Ruvo and Andria, but that probably formalises arrangements since the
collision. There is a shuttle service between Barletta and Andria, worked by a single train; so no risk of
colliding with anything else. Buses operate between Ruvo and Barletta, but there is no Sunday service of
any sort between Bitonto and Barletta. On the routes from Bari trains are limited to a maximum speed of
50 km/hr. This is less than half of what the rolling stock and much of the permanent way is capable of.
Although most lines in the Bari area have been doubled, the first 3.5 km from the terminus remains single-
track, apparently because widening the railway would be too difficult and expensive. The additional time
taken for trains to pass through this single track causes considerable problems, even with the revised
timetable. A visit during the evening peak found most trains running late and several “soppresso”. The
temporary timetable shows extension of the line from Ospedale S Paolo to Cecilia as “prossima apertura”
and Cecilia is shown on route maps within trains. It appears that trains currently run empty to and from
Cecilia, having set down passengers at Ospedale S Paolo.

[C21] Italy – The Ferrovie del Gargano
The new Ferrovie del Gargano line from San Severo replaces about 25 km of the branch and makes it
somewhat shorter. The railway now heads north east from San Severo, and some fast running, over 100
km/hr, is possible. Apricena now has a railway station in the town. It was previously served by a Trenitalia
station, on the line to Termoli, 5 km distant and now closed. The railway runs through cuttings and a long
tunnel as it climbs into the Gargano hills. The excavated material may have been used to create the
embankment on which the line runs for much of the way from San Severo to Apricena Città. The old
alignment is gained about 5 km before San Nicandro Gargánico. The track and electrification equipment
remain intact on the old line, with a buffer stop on the end. The line may have been subject to minor
realignment where it runs through the hills to Ischitella. For the last 13 km the line runs along the coast
and for much of the way it is road-side or along the top of the beach. In complete contrast with the fast
run to Apricena, the train crawls along this section. At Peschici-Calenella the sidings beyond the station
have been lifted and new buffer stops erected, slightly reducing the length of the line. The station is in
open countryside, several km short of Peschici, with only a holiday park to provide local custom.

ETR330 004 at Peschici Calenella, having arrived with the 07:10 from Foggia on 1 March. The new buffers and the area where track is
being lifted can be seen.

Modern electric units work the branch, running through to and from Foggia. Some semaphore signals
remain on the line, but not all may be in use. Despite the considerable investment in the new line, many
services are provided by bus. There was a comic moment when the train came to depart Peschici-
Calenella. The guard closed the doors and shouted towards the cab that the driver could start. Nothing
happened. Then there came knocking on one of the doors as the driver, still on the platform, sought
admission to the train.

[C22] Italy – The Foggia to Potenza line
This secondary FS line provides an attractive journey through scenic hill country. Whereas most Trenitalia
local trains are formed of modern rolling stock, ALn663 and ALn668 diesel railcars, normally working in
pairs, are still used. The railway makes a junction with the Foggia to Benevento line at Cervaro. The main
line has been realigned here, so the junction is now some distance north of the station, instead of to the
south. The railway climbs into the hills from Ascoli Satriano and comes to the isolated junction station of
Rocchetta S Antonio-Lacedonia. This was a classic railway community. The station is some distance from
both of the villages after which it is named, but it was an important junction and operating centre. The
branch to Gioia del Colle remains open for freight, principally cars, but that to Avellino appears to be out of
use. The main station building is a huge barracks, which could have housed many of the staff.

Rocchetta S Antonio-Lacedonia on 28 December 1996, showing that snow can fall even in Southern Italy. ALn668 1864 waits to work
the 10:20 to Lioni. After a layover there it continued as the 13:35 to Avellino.

Various other railway buildings survive. The yard is used by railway engineers, but the place seems more or
less deserted otherwise with few passengers. Continuing through the hills, the main town served is Melfi,
where there is a fine view from the train of the impressive castle. At the Potenza end, the line is
noteworthy for a dual-gauge section from Avigliano Lucania, also used by Ferrovie Appulo-Lucane 950mm
gauge trains from Avigliano Città. There are several local stations in Potenza, including one serving the
university. The station at the junction with the Battigalia to Metaponto line is now called Potenza Centrale,
though it is not particularly near the city centre. Previously, it was Potenza Inferiore, as it is in the valley
bottom, but this was clearly not thought to be a suitable name for the town’s main station. The much
smaller station of Potenza Superiore, up the hill, retains the name, however. The railway is of value to
those seeking travel free of supplements and obligatory reservations, given that trains between Foggia and
Benevento are all InterCity or Frecciargento. There are good connections available at Potenza to and from
Battipaglia and Salerno.

[C23] Italy - Napoli Afragola and a service returns to the Madonelle to Volla line
A new station, designed by the late Zaha Hadid, is under construction on the Linea AV/AC north of Napoli.
It was supposed to be complete in 2008, but may open later this year although not entirely finished. The
station will allow high-speed trains to serve the Napoli area without having to reverse at Napoli Centrale.
At present just one train pair uses the AV/AC curve avoiding Napoli. The plans included a Circumvesuviana
branch from Volla to serve the station, but there is no sign of this being constructed, apart from additional
platforms provided at Volla some years ago.

The platforms at Volla, provided for the line to Afragola, which may (or may not) be built.

The layout at Volla suggests that if the line is ever built there would be trains from Afragola to the Sorrento
line via Madonelle. At present there is just one return working between Madonelle and Volla during the
afternoon. For some years this service was shown in the timetable, but did not actually run. However, the
train was recently observed to be working.

[C24] Italy – The Firenze to Roma Direttissima
The high-speed line between Firenze and Roma was opened in stages between 1977 and 1992. The first
section to open, from Roma to Città del Pieve, south of Chiusi Chianciano Terme, is claimed to be Europe’s
first high-speed railway. The line differed from later high-speed lines in having conventional signalling and
being electrified at FS standard 3,000 volts dc. Therefore, it could be used by any train and no special high-
speed trains were constructed. The line is also noteworthy for the frequency of its connections to the old
main line, which it follows closely for most of the way. Extension of the Italian high-speed network has
seen a significant change in use of the Direttissima and further change is likely as the line is resignalled to
ERTMS standards and there are plans to convert it to 25 kV ac. Originally, the line was used by locomotive-
hauled InterCity, Expreso and other trains, including overnight services. Very few of these were non-stop
between Roma and Firenze and most of the connections on and off the direttissima were used by several
trains daily. In the course of a few journeys between Roma and Firenze one could expect to do most of the
line and its connections, with only a limited amount of planning then necessary to fill the gaps. This is no
longer the case. There are frequent high-speed trains running non-stop, requiring conventional services to
make greater use of the old main line. The first section from Firenze, to Valdarno Nord, is still used by
semi-fast trains to Roma and Foligno. There are also some local services via the Direttissima as far as
Arezzo. The least-used connection was that at Valdarno Sud. Sometimes one early-morning train from
Arezzo to Firenze was scheduled to use it, but this was often diverted via the connection at Arezzo Nord.
(The current train is much more likely to use the link at Valdarno Sud, because it has to overtake a slower
service on the old main line. And duly did so on 22 March when your Editor travelled on the train). Most
non-stop trains between Roma and Orte use the Direttissima to Orte Sud, but there is now limited use of
connections to and from the old main line between Arezzo and Orte. Chiusi Nord is scheduled to be used

only by the München to Roma overnight train, but that may run via the old line from Arezzo if late. A
Torino to Salerno overnight train is the only one to use the connection at Orte Nord. Only a few trains use
the other connections (more details at EGTRE website). The extent to which local and semi-fast trains use
the Direttissima between Firenze and Arezzo suggest that that it may remain at 3,000 volts dc, like the
high-speed lines from Milano to Tavazzano and Treviglio. Roma to Orte would probably need to remain at
3,000 volts dc as well. However, conversion of the rest of the line to 25 kV ac makes it quite possible that
the connections at Chiusi, Orvieto and Orte Nord will eventually see no passenger use at all.

[C25] Italy – Gricing the FSE
Our member flew into Bari and took a minibus to the centre as it departed first and the train was running
late. Owing to late running on a previous trip he needed the somewhat annoying gap of Putignano -
Martina Franca, which meant he had to take the slow and indirect FSE route from Bari to Lecce. The
inward train from Conversano arrived 11 minutes late although the staff did well to depart only 7 minutes
late. Fortunately, although it was loco hauled, it was push-pull, so no running round was required. It sat
for 15 for minutes at Putignano for no discernible reason and ambled very slowly in places, arriving at
Martina Franca 30 late. The 5 minute connection was not held and there was no train to Lecce for almost 2
hours owing to a train having been deleted from the timetable.
The train to Lecce left Martina Franca on time but was 20 min late by the time it got to Novoli . As he could
not be sure how they would regulate trains now that the timetable was adrift he abandoned his plan of a
short stop in Lecce to check in at the hotel and waited at Novoli. In the event they kept to the train pattern
such that his train south left 30 minutes late awaiting the connection from Lecce.
Our member had by this time abandoned his original plan to go to Gallipoli and went to Casarano, where
arrival was 40 late. The connection to Gallipoli was held 20 minutes for them at Nardo Centrale. He was
surprised that the train back was a 2 car PESA dmu, rather than a single ALN68 railcar, which seems to be
the norm. This ran through to Lecce, reversing at Novoli. He was able to confirm that the timetable is
correct and that the Gallipoli - Casarano service has restarted. However, contrary to the timetable, the last
train each way (16:24 from Gallipoli, 17:08 from Casarano) is a bus. It was necessary to rejig plans to
recover his lost track so he decided to stay another night in Lecce (nice hotel, although the breakfast was
below the class expected) and abandon plans to do the Ferrovie del Gargano. Fortunately the hotel in Rodi
Garganico was willing to cancel his booking without charge. In spite of the timetable having a huge gap in
the morning and middle of the day to allow for engineering work, our member wasn't entirely confident
that his experience of a few years ago, of a bus from Rodi Garganico to the terminus, would not be
repeated. His opinion is that this is a line which needs to be done in the summer to be confident of not
being bustituted.
Unlike other less important stations, there is no FSE ticket office at Lecce and no printed timetables either.
Tickets are sold by the station bookshop. FSE trains are not shown on the FS departure sheets but do
appear on the electronic arrival and departure indicators. No FSE validator was observed and his ticket
didn't activate an FS one, so he had to ask the guard to do this and he directed him to the rear railcar. The
reason for this became apparent at Zollino, where the train split for Gagliano and Gallipoli (not shown as
such in the timetable). The train arrived on time at Gallipoli (a first!) and he had time to walk to the island
on which the old city stands. The line to Gallipoli Porto was of course black with rust. It runs along a fenced
off low stone embankment and has one level crossing en route, 'protected' by crowd-control type barriers
placed across the tracks. Gallipoli Porto is a very short platform on the north side of a small fish market.

This is the one train believed to have operated to Gallipoli Porto in recent years, dated 28 August 2015. The platform is out of sight at
the back.

There is track embedded in the tarmac in the port area beyond the buffer stop at Porto. Having walked
along the main road on the south side of the line he decided to return by the road on the north side. This
was a mistake. After quite some way the pavement vanished completely for some distance and there was
no means of crossing the line. At a point when it was too far to retrace his steps he saw that the road was
rising up at a point where both lines went into deep rock cuttings. So, there was no option but to cut
across some rough ground where indigenous travellers were living in a concrete hut, climb over a rough
wall and drop down on to railway land, removing a certain amount of skin from his shin in the process. As
he was walking towards the platforms a train emerged from the cutting at some speed and without
warning. The driver obviously saw our member and there were numerous staff on the platform, so he was
expecting a severe telling off. Fortunately, the FS takeover has not yet resulted in the wretched Polizia
Ferroviaria arriving in the area. Otherwise they might have taken time off from shining their shoes and
wandering around looking important to harangue him. However, the station staff continued chatting and
ignored his transgression.
To his surprise the train to Casarano was a 2 car PESA dmu, but this was justified by the number of noisy
brats on board. En route there was an intermodal terminal near Melissano, which looked as if it had never
carried any traffic. Quite apart from FSE not having the ability to convey freight as far as he knew, why on
earth would a terminal be needed here? But then it did have an extensive area of concrete and we
know the cement industry is controlled by a certain organisation....... The train on to Gagliano Leuca
arrived 15 mins late and without any warning (whereas a loud bell had sounded for an interminable time
for the train from Gallipoli) but was only 7 late at Gagliano. He had certainly not expected to make the
booked minus 7 minute connection at Gagliano Leuca (and there was a train an hour later) but, to his
surprise, not only was the onward train held but it waited whilst the stationmaster sold him a ticket and
validated it as well.

The next day, after some 'cultural gricing' in Lecce he took the train to Pescara, mainly to cover the 41 km
of new alignment he needed en-route. The industrial branch to the East at Brindisi was shiny but the line
to Marittima was derelict. The new single track curve avoiding Foggia was very shiny. The Manfredonia
branch was shiny, which was a surprise as there are no passenger trains at the moment and the lavish
freight extension beyond Manfredonia looked a few years ago as if it had never carried a train. Even more
surprisingly, the old FdG line into San Severo was shiny. He cannot envisage any traffic other than trains
lifting the track. The new FdG line runs parallel to the main line in a widened cutting for about 3 km north
of S. Severo before veering off to the NE. The 34 km of single track between PM Lesina and Termoli (the
only section on the Adriatic coast) shows no sign of any work to double it. The former station building at
Pescara is a pleasant little building which looks very isolated, separated as it is now from the present
station by a sea of parking on an ugly area of low quality tarmac, and next to what laughably purports to
be a bus station.
In summary, all lines are operating but punctuality is poor, especially on the Bari - Martina Franca line.
There is a good chance of running late and it should be expected that a connection will be missed
somewhere in a day's travel. However, there is also no sign of any impending closure.
[C26] Italy – PisaMover starts operation
The inauguration of the PisaMover, which connects Pisa Centrale railway station with Pisa Airport, was on
18 March with passenger services commencing at 12:30. Construction work started in December 2013 on
this new fast and fully automatic driverless connection. A member visited the new facility on 22 March,
taking advantage of the free introductory travel available until Sunday 26 March. The southernmost
platform at Pisa Centrale has been commandeered for the PisaMover, though the actual platform is only
about 50 metres long. Ticket machines are present and activate the barriers when presented. A cable
system is used to move the ‘train’ on two concrete ‘tracks’.

The PisaMover platform at Pisa Centrale

The shuttles run every 5-8 minutes from 06:00 to 24:00, running parallel with the main line south as far as
San Giusto Aurelia which is the only intermediate station and serves a huge park and ride area where the
parking price includes transport on the PisaMover to either the railway station or the airport. There are
two platforms, but if only one shuttle is in use, it uses the same platform each way. The route now heads
away from the main line, presumably over the course of the former airport branch, to Aeroporto Stazione,
reached by a rather steep ramp. The travel time is 5 minutes and the shuttle returns after only a minute or
so. Possibly to forestall a million bad jokes about Pizza Movers, the logo for the train combined the A and
M in PISAMOVER so it seems to read PISMOVER, which will probably be the source of many more jokes in
the English speaking world.

The PisaMover ‘MiniMetro’ in its platform at Pisa Centrale and the view from the front of the driverless unit.

[C27] Italy – Ceres at last
A member’s previous attempt to travel the branch line from Torino Dora to Ceres was foiled by
engineering work on the line north of Caselle Torinese Aeroporto, introduced between him researching
the journey and actually doing it. As a consequence it finally wound up as his last branch served by regular
passenger services in Italy, and with a visit to Italy planned as part of a global InterRail, the next visit was
very carefully researched with checks of the timetable up until the last minute. Torino Dora is an isolated
terminus station about twenty minutes brisk walk north of Torino Porto Susa, and is operated by Torino
Transport Authority GTT, who also operate buses and the Metro.

Torino Dora is a modest little station with three platforms and a small, modern, station building.

A careful study of the timetable (available as a pdf from the GTT website) is needed to ascertain which
services are train throughout, as most services to Ceres are operated partly by bus! The 06:43 train from
Torino Dora is shown on the information screens as going to Ceres, but actually only goes to Germagnano,
for a bus forward. However, the 07:13 departure really is a train throughout – with a slight catch. After this
it is buses until early afternoon. This is a single track, electrified railway with most stations offering crossing
possibilities. Before the Aeroporto station the train fills with schoolchildren. When they get off at Cirié the
train is virtually empty. Our member had a brief period of total panic when the guard came round before
Germagnano and indicated that he would need to change there. Normal blood pressure was (slowly)
regained when it became apparent that this was to another train and not the dreaded autobus.
Germagnano to Ceres appears to be operated as an extension to the rest of the railway. It has masts and
OLE, but they are disused and services are operated by elderly class 663 diesel railcars. Most services are
actually buses, and when just two passengers set off on the train to Ceres (pronounced ‘Sherez’), our
member could understand why. The guard (same one as before) checked where his two passengers were
going and armed with that knowledge the driver was able to cruise slowly through the intermediate
stations (all built in Swiss style to the same plan) without stopping, as no passengers were waiting. It is a
scenic railway, following a rushing mountain river up a steep sided valley and crossing the river several
times. On a fine day the peaks of the Alps would be visible, but cloud shrouded the mountainsides on this
occasion. The piece-de-resistance was left to the end, when the train crossed a fine 190m long viaduct just
before Ceres station. There was the best part of an hour before the train went back, so time to explore.
The station building has first and second class waiting rooms, the latter quite delightful.

The ticket office and waiting rooms at Ceres

The line ends at a metal turntable, seemingly too small to be of any use. By the station is the Cafe Stazione,
which was open and allowed our member to have a celebratory ‘birra’ whilst looking at the railway
pictures on the walls, some which are actually jigsaws. One claims the station is 717 metres a.s.l.
Being of a worrying nature, our member decided to check departure time with the guard and wrote down
the time he believed the train would leave – 09:19. No, said the guard – 09:29! Needless to say our
member, and 15 other people, were on the train at 09:17 when the stationmaster appeared, banged on
the windows of the train to wake the guard up, and blew his whistle for a 09:19 departure! At Germagnano
a bus was waiting (as per timetable) to take the passengers forward to Torino, but our member was well
content with the day.

Ceres station from the path leading steeply up to the town. The steeply pitched roof of the Swiss style station is to shed snow
effectively. The Cafe Stazione is just to the right, off picture, as is the little turntable at the end of the line.

[C28] Italy – A collection of pictures from previous decades

Malé: The old passenger station, 24 March 2002

Malé: The new passenger station, 2 February 2006

Finale Ligure Marina: Finale Ligure Marine to Andora is the last section of the Savona to Ventimiglia line not to have been rebuilt,
largely in tunnel. An unusual service, long since withdrawn, was a return working from Bern to Albenga, which operated June to
October. It was routed via Arona, Novara and Mortara, and was noteworthy as an international train formed of BLS carriages. The
train from Bern calls at Finale Ligure Marina on 11 October 1985.

Services no more:

Romagno Sesia: Romagno Sesia was the junction where the lines from Arona to Santhia and from Novara to Varallo Sesia intersected.
The service between Arona and Santhia was withdrawn on 17 June 2012 and that to Varallo Sesia followed on 15 September 2014.
Passengers change trains on 11 October 1985.

S Giuseppe Vesuviano: The line from Cancello to Torre Annunziata closed in 2006, supposedly for renovation, but the passenger
service never resumed. The line was declared formally closed in 2014. The lunch-time service from Cancello on 23 December 1995 is
seen at S Giuseppe Vesuviano.

Pergola: The branch from Fabriano to Pergola once continued to Urbino, but it was cut back in 1944 as a result of war damage. The
train service was suspended on 13 November 2013, as the result of a small landslip. Subsequently, the level crossings have been
dismantled and the rails tarred over. The 14:55 to Fabriano, formed of ALn668 1419+1433, awaits departure on 27 December 1995

Castel di Sangro FS: The FS line from Sulmona to Carpinone is exceptionally scenic. In this view of Castel di Sangro, taken on 23
December 1996, a viaduct carrying the railway to Sulmona can be seen on the mountain-side. Passenger services between Carpinone
and Castel di Sangro were withdrawn on 11 October 2010, with the rest of the line closing on 10 December 2011.

The regular passenger service over the Sangritana line was withdrawn on 9 December 2006. There was a tourist service on at least
part of the line in summer 2007, but the local newspaper reported on 3 July that it had been withdrawn, because of the poor state of
the infrastructure

Lioni: The passenger service between Avellino and Rocchetta S Antonio-Lacedonia was withdrawn in December 2010. The railcar and
crew take a break at Lioni en route from Rocchetta to Avellino on 28 December 1996.

Manfredonia: The service to Manfredonia keeps being withdrawn and re-instated, sometimes running only during the summer. In
1996 trains still ran throughout the year. ALn668 1039+1114 wait to work the 13:05 to Foggia on 30 December 1996.

Palmi: The Ferroviedella Calabria narrow-gauge lines from Gioia Tauro to Cinquefrondi and Palmi Centrale closed on 7 June 2011,
because of the poor condition of the track. The service from Palmi to Sinopoli had been withdrawn in 1994. Railcar 221 is at Palmi
Centrale on 30 December 1997.

Ormea: Trains between Ceva and Ormea ceased running on 17 June 2012. Tourist trains started running in 2016, but the line has
since been blocked by a landslide. ALn663 1160+1165 are to work the 14:05 from Ormea on 25 October 2002.

A completely new line between S Vito-Lanciano and Lanciano opened on 15 March 2008. The following
photographs were taken during a trip along the line on 23 December 1996:



[C29] Italy – Torino Porta Susa – the old and the new station
The first station at Porta Susa was opened 20 October 1856, with inauguration of the station building
lagging behind by 12 years. Those who visited it before closure in 2009 will recall that did not have a large
station ‘feel’ and was rather lacking in facilities. Access to trams and buses was excellent as it fronted onto
the busy Piazza XVIII Dicembre. It lost its station function on 18 October 2009 when the new station
adjacent was sufficiently completed and the some of the underground tracks commissioned.

The original station at Porta Susa before closure in 2009

The station building remained in operation for ticket sales and as an access point to city transport services,
but in 2011 the new Porta Susa Metro station opened and by the end of 2012 ticket sales moved to the
new station.
From2015 the station building housed the Metropolitan market, a gastronomic establishment and a
sustainable agribusiness. By 2016 further space was planned for craft shops, but rents were discouragingly
high and the building was found to need expensive restructuring, so on 30 September it was closed again.
A visit in March 2017 found the building completely disused, with signs of dereliction.
The platform side of the building was also viewed from the elevated road which has been built over the
former tracks and presented a sad sight.

The old station at Torino Porta Susa from the footpath on the new road which has covered the original above-ground platforms.

The new station was started in April 2006 as part of a project to quadruple the number of tracks through
central Torino and was formally inaugurated on 14 January 2013. It is an impressive structure meant to
replace Porta Nuova as the city’s main station by providing it with a purpose designed high speed railway
hub. The station is covered by a spectacular 386m-long and 30m-wide glass and steel roof, with the
underground platforms set to one side rather than directly underneath. The station features an eco-
friendly heating and ventilation system while the glazing skin is equipped with mono-crystalline
photovoltaic cells installed between the two layers of glass which act as a sun shield and will generate
680,00kWh of energy a year (80% of the stations energy usage). The glazing sheets are designed to allow
an exchange of air between the inside and outside the building, which is cooled by natural air convection
rising from the lowest level.
Tracks 1 and 2 are used for regional trains and InterCity trains and were the last tracks to be
commissioned, finally activated on the 15 December 2015.

Tracks 3 and 4 are used by Trenitalia and Italo high speed trains
Tracks 5 and 6 are used by Metropolitano di Torino local services

Inside the new Torino Porta Susa station. This has three levels, the uppermost on the right of the picture is street level, the middle
level has ticket offices and shops. The lowest level on the left of picture behind the glass wall, is platform level. Between the mid-level
and platform level is an intermediate area of variable height due to the presence of ramps, used by FS for station operations and not
accessible to the public. Behind the photographer the station extends as far again, and this is where the access to the Metro is

Although the new station looks busy and well used, commercially it has not been a major success. It
remains to be seen whether the underground multi-storey car park opened at the end of 2016 makes any
difference, but currently 5000 square metres of commercial space is unoccupied. FS now fully owns a
company called Centostazioni and they have been charged with managing the station’s business, starting
in mid-2017.

[C30] Italy – Some recent pictures of the Vatican Railway

Viaduct on the Pope’s private branch line into the Vatican City
The Pope’s private station

Two goods vans in the Pope’s private station

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