Italy plans new hub to boost intermodality on Rhine-Alpine corridor
The Alessandria Smistamento rail terminal, 83 kilometres north of Genoa, in northeastern Italy, will be enhanced to become a key intermodal hub on the TEN-T Rhine-Alpine Corridor. The planned improvements include enabling the hub to handle 750-metre trains to boost intermodality between Italy and France.
The Alessandria Smistamento terminal is strategically located because it can function as a dry port for the volumes coming to the port of Genoa. Volumes at the Ligurian port are in fact expected to increase with the opening of the Genoa-Tortona high-speed railway (known as Terzo Valico in Italian). The new line will also be connected to Alessandria and thus the hub, which can provide extra capacity on the route.
The total investment for this project will be 75 million euros, as the Italian Ministry of Transport underlined. 7,5 million euros will come from the Italian Budget Law of 2018, with an additional 15 million coming from the so-called “Shared Project” launched in 2016 to develop the area of Piedmont crossed by the Terzo Valico.
A two-phase plan to make Alessandria Smistamento an intermodal hub
The plan to remodel the Alessandria Smistamento terminal was brought forward by Calogero Mauceri, Special Commissioner for the Terzo Valico project, in June 2022. The new intermodal hub should therefore be ready for the opening of the Terzo Valico, scheduled for the beginning of 2025. Earlier this week, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to officially start the project. The image below shows the area, highlighted in black and white, where the new intermodal hub will be located at the Alessandria Smistamento terminal.
The MoU entails two phases. During the first phase, which will be concluded in December 2023, Italian infrastructure manager Rete Ferroviaria Italiana will work on feasibility studies. Throughout this process economic and technical factors will be taken into account and, at the end of the phase, a plan with specifics on the works and their cost will be made available. The second phase will entail the preparation of a Masterplan for the realisation of the new intermodal hub.
As the Ports of Genoa mentioned, the hub will mostly serve the ports of Genoa and Savona. Alessandria will also be an important junction connected to the Turin-Lyon railway, which should be open in 2032. Enhancing the Alessandria Smistamento area is therefore quite an important step in the development of both the Rhine-Alpine and Mediterranean Corridor.
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