Italian rail freight line

Italian railway Bologna-Prato to allow 750-meter length trains

The Italian railway track connecting Bologna and Prato will be modernised to meet European standards for rail freight lines. As a result, the line will allow for the passage of 750-meter length trains and be equipped with upgraded signalling systems.

Bologna is situated in the northern region of Emilia Romagna, while Prato lies in the central region of Tuscany. As such, the line forms an integral part of the connection with the European hinterland. Vice-minister of transport Riccardo Nencini noted: “This project is essential to assure a competitive rail freight connection between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna and Central Europe.

According to government data, the upgrades are budgeted at 300 million Euros, including works to improve both freight and passenger traffic. Twenty kilometres of new tunnels will be realised, in addition to modern information signalling systems, facilities to handle 750 metre length trains and truck parks to allow for intermodal services. Moreover, several train stations will be revamped.

Service disruptions

The works will be carried out in three stages: between San Pionoro and San Benedetto Val di Sambro (July 2018-June 2019); between San Benito and Vernio (June 2019-June 2020); and between Vernio and Prato (June 2020-June 2021). Rail freight and passenger services will be interrupted from 9.30-16.30 daily and completely on Saturday and Sunday. Nencini explained: “We have decided not to carry out civil works during the night because this would interrupt most of rail freight and long-distance passenger services and this would take ten years, following the EU safety and labour rules.”

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Author: Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez is RailFreight's correspondent in Spain.

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