High-speed rail in Italy
High-speed rail in Italy consists of two lines connecting most of the country's major cities. The first line connects Turin to Salerno via Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples, the second runs from Turin to Venice via Milan, and is under construction in parts. Trains are operated with a top speed of 300 km/h (190 mph).
Passenger service is provided by Trenitalia and, since April 2012, by NTV, the world's first private open-access operator of high-speed rail to compete with a state-owned monopoly. 25 million passengers traveled on the network in 2011. In 2015, ridership increased to 55 million for Trenitalia and 9.1 million for NTV, for a combined 64 million passengers.
The first high-speed rail route in Italy, the Direttissima, opened in 1977, connecting Rome with Florence. The top speed on the line was 250 km/h (160 mph), giving an end-to-end journey time of about 90 minutes with an average speed of 200 km/h (120 mph). This line used a 3 kV DC supply.
High-speed service was introduced on the Rome-Milan line in 1988-89 with the ETR 450 Pendolino train, with a top speed of 250 km/h and cutting travel times from about 5 hours to 4. The prototype train ETR X 500 was the first Italian train to reach 300 km/h (190 mph) on the Direttissima on 25 May 1989.
In November 2018, the first high-speed freight rail in the world commenced service in Italy. The ETR 500 Mercitalia Fast train carries freight between Caserta and Bologna in 3 hours and 30 minutes, at an average speed of 180 km/h (110 mph).
- AGV 575: non tilting, it can reach 360 km/h (220 mph) and has a operational speed of up to 300 km/h (190 mph), operated by NTV as Italo;
- ETR 500: non-tilting, operational speeds up to 300 km/h (190 mph), operated by Trenitalia as the Frecciarossa;
- ETR 1000: non tilting, operated by Trenitalia as the Frecciarossa, it can reach 400 km/h (250 mph) and has operational speed of 300 km/h (190 mph).
- ETR 485, tilting, speeds up to 250 km/h (160 mph), operated by Trenitalia as the Frecciargento. It operates mainly on traditional lines;
- ETR 600, tilting, speeds up to 250 km/h (160 mph), operated by Trenitalia as the Frecciargento. It operates mainly on traditional lines;
- ETR 610: tilting, speeds up to 250 km/h (160 mph), operated by Trenitalia on services between Italy and Switzerland.
- ETR 700: non tilting, speeds up to 250 km/h (160 mph), operated by Trenitalia as Frecciargento;
Current limitations on the tracks set the maximum operating speed of the trains at 300 km/h (190 mph) after plans for 360 km/h (220 mph) operations were cancelled. Along with the development of ETR 1000 by AnsaldoBreda and Bombardier Transportation (which is designed to operate commercially at 360 km/h (220 mph), with a technical top speed of over 400 km/h (250 mph)), with Rete Ferroviaria Italiana working on the necessary updates to allow trains to speed up to 360 km/h (220 mph). On May 28, 2018, the Ministry for Infrastructures and Transportation and the National Association for Railway Safety decided not to run the 385 km/h tests required to allow commercial operation at 350 km/h, thus limiting the maximum commercial speed on the existing Italian high-speed lines to 300 km/h and cancelling the project.
The following high-speed rail lines are in use.
|Opening||Travel time||Top speed|
|Florence–Rome "Direttissima"||254||1978-02-24 / 1992-05-26||1:18||250||3 kV DC|
|Rome–Naples||205||2005-12-19 / 2009-12-13||1:08||300||25 kV 50 Hz|
|0:44||300||25 kV 50 Hz|
Part of the future Milan–Venice high-speed line
|25||2007-03-01||0:14||220||3 kV DC|
Part of the future Milan–Venice high-speed line
|0:36||180 (Milano-Treviglio) |
|25 kV 50 Hz|
|Naples-Salerno "via Linea Monte Vesuvio" (L.M.V.)||29||2008-06||0:30||250||3 kV DC|
|Milan–Bologna||215||2008-12-13||0:53||300||25 kV 50 Hz|
|Bologna–Florence||79||2009-12-05||0:35||300||25 kV 50 Hz|
|Bologna||-||0:35||0:53||3:15 (3:35)||1:54 (2:03)||2:02|
|Florence||0:35||-||1:31||2:31 (2:51)||1:18 (1:45)||2:38|
|Milan||0:53||1:31||-||3:50 (4:18)||2:40 (3:08)||0:44 (1:00)|
|Naples||3:15 (3:35)||2:31 (2:51)||3:50 (4:18)||-||1:08||5:00 (5:25)|
|Rome||1:54 (2:35)||1:18 (1:45)||2:40 (3:08)||1:08||-||3:48|
|Turin||2:02||2:38||0:44 (1:00)||5:00 (5:25)||3:48||-|
Milan to Salerno Corridor
The Milan–Bologna segment opened on 13 December 2008. Its construction cost was about 6.9 billion euro. The 182 km (113 mi) line runs parallel to the Autostrada del Sole, crossing seven provinces and 32 municipalities. There are eight connections with historic lines. At the Reggio Emilia interconnection a new station designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava was opened in June 2013. Calatrava has also designed a signature bridge where the line crosses the A1 motorway. The line travels through a new multi-level station at Bologna (Italy's principal railway junction) designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki.
The Bologna–Florence segment opened on 12 December 2009, allowing a 37-minute journey between the two cities. The Bologna-Florence high-speed section was particularly complex to build mainly because about 93% of its 78.5 km (48.8 mi) runs through tunnels under the Apennines range. The line has nine tunnels, from 600 meters to 18.5 km (11.5 mi) long, separated by short surface stretches (less than 5 km in total). Florence will have a major new multi-level high speed station at Belfiore designed by British architect Norman Foster.
The Florence–Rome segment consists of the older "Direttissima" (literally: most direct) line between the two cities, with a length of 240 km (150 mi). The first high-speed line in Europe, the "Direttissima" was completed in between 1977 and 1986. This segment is being upgraded by Treno Alta Velocità. Entering Rome, high-speed trains have the option of stopping at either the new intermodal station at Tiburtina, developed by architects ABD Associate led by Paolo Desideri, or Termini station.
The Rome-Naples segment heads south from the Italian capital. Service on the first new high speed segment of the project started in December 2005. This line runs through 61 municipalities in two regions (Latium and Campania) and connects with the existing national rail network at Frosinone Nord, Cassino Sud and Caserta Nord. On 13 December 2009 Work was completed on the last 18 km of the line between Gricignano and Napoli Centrale. In the Campania region the line passes through Afragola where a major new transfer station has been built, designed by Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid.
Turin to Trieste Corridor
The Turin to Novara segment of the Turin to Trieste corridor runs for 85 km and opened in February 2006. The Novara to Milan segment opened on 12 December 2009, allowing a 59-minute journey between Milan Centrale and Turin Porta Nuova (45 minutes from Milan Porta Garibaldi to Turin Porta Susa). The two segments combine for a total of 125 km, 80% (98 km) of which are in the region of Piemonte (provinces of Turin, Vercelli and Novara) and 20% (27 km) in the region of Lombardy (province of Milan). To minimize its impact on the area, the Turin to Milan segment runs inside the existing infrastructure corridor, next to the A4 Turin-Milan motorway.
Ports and Trans European Connections
A new line connecting Milan to the port of Genoa is now in development and further expansion of the trans-Alpine lines will integrate the Italian network into the European networks planned by the EU and the large intermodal pan-European transport corridors.
The objective of the new Alpine rail links is to increase rail transport, aimed mainly at supporting the forecast development of freight transport on international lines, complete interoperability between European High Speed networks, the shift from road to rail of a large percentage of freight for modal rebalancing, higher safety levels in tunnels as specified in the new European technology and construction standards.
Planned engineering works include the construction of new international lines and the upgrading of existing Italian track on the following lines:
- Milan-Venice: the remaining portion from Brescia to Padova is under construction, while the rest of the line is already in operation. High speed trains use the conventional line between Brescia and Padova.
- Milan-Genoa: the project was approved in 2006; construction work started in 2011.
- Turin-Lyon: the Turin-Lyon line should connect Turin, Lyon and Chambéry, and join the Italian and the French high speed rail networks. It would take over the role of the current Fréjus railway.
- Milan-Chiasso: a route connecting the Italian high-speed rail network to Switzerland and Germany is conceived through a Swiss project NRLA, which includes the Gotthard Base Tunnel and the Lötschberg Base Tunnel.
- Brenner Base Tunnel: the Brenner Base Tunnel will link Verona, Innsbruck, and Munich, and thus connect the Italian, Austrian and German railways. The Brenner tunnel is the most important link in a series of projects that will create a single connection from Berlin in Germany to Palermo in Sicily as part of the Trans-European Transport Networks. In December 2008, Antonio Tajani, the European commissioner for transport, approved funds totalling €1.7 billion to finance 11 railway projects that together should establish two major north-south routes across the European continent.
- Trieste-Ljubljana: a connection with Ljubljana would encourage rail development into Eastern Europe and link the Slovenian Pendolino and Italian TAV networks.
- Naples-Bari: the construction has begun and the route will cut Rome-Bari journeys from 3h59m to 3h00m.
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- La Direttissima Roma-Firenze, in Ingegneria ferroviaria, gennaio 1978
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- Substantial travel time differences between the French TGV (around 80 minutes) and Italian high speed trains (around 50 minutes) (Both non-stop times). This time difference of 30 minutes can only be caused by the TGV taking the slower classic route. The fast regional trains who do not take the high speed take only slightly a bit longer, but they have more stops. There is one TGV that stops in Novara with only marginal extra time. It is not possible to stop in Novara without using the Novara - Milan old classic line. Consulted 2017 and 2016 timetables.
- see Fascicoli Circolazione Linee links in for technical data of RFI (Rete Ferroviaria Italiana) lines
- Reuters Italy launches Milan-Bologna high speed train link December 13, 2008
- The table is based on Trenitalia timetables (2011)
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