Train journey times from the north to the south of Italy are set to be slashed now that state-owned infrastructure company Ferrovie Dello Stato has finished work on its high speed line.
From December 13, state-owned operator Trenitalia will begin selling tickets for journeys from Turin in the north to Salerno in the south with the final section of line between Bologna and Florence completed.
Trenitalia’s “Frecciarossa” (Red Arrow) trains, in service for some years already under the Eurostar Italia name, will for the first time run at speeds of up to 360km per hour along the length of Italy.
According to Trenitalia, the 1,000km line is the culmination of 25 years of work by infrastructure owner and operator Ferrovie Dello Stato (also state-owned) during which much of the existing high speed line was brought up to modern standards.
Two different types of train, already in service, will be used on the high speed lines – the 360km per hour ETR-500 which is limited to the high speed lines only, and the brand new ETR-600 which can run on both high speed and conventional lines but at slower speeds.
The newer but slower Pendalino-type ETR-600s, carrying the Frecciargento (Silver Arrow) brand, provide services to cities not on the high-speed line, such as Verona and Bolzano, and so cover a wider network than Frecciarossa.
The non-stop Frecciarossa Rome to Milan service will take two hours 45 minutes. Trenitalia estimates the equivalent short-haul flight to take three hours and 40 including travel to/from the airport and check-in times.
Rome to Turin, a journey of around 800km, will take just four hours and ten minutes slashing one hour 30 minutes off the current time.
Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV), Italy’s first privately-owned high speed train operator, is also set to run services on the same high speed line in 2011 in direct competition with Trenitalia (see online news March 20).
Trenitalia plans to offer tickets at a discounted introductory rate when they’re released on December 13.
Report by Andrew Gough
Other Frecciarossa journey times (and reductions where information is available):
? Milan to Naples 4h10 (-40 minutes)
? Bologna to Florence 37 minutes (-22 minutes)
? Turin to Milan 60 minutes
? Rome to Naples 1hr10
? Milan to Florence 1hr45
? Naples to Milan 4hr10
Frecciargento journey times
? Rome to Venice 3h15
? Rome to Verona 3hr
? Rome to Bari 3hr59
? Rome to Lamezia 3hr59