Adriatic Corridor open for high-cube cargo trains
Italian infrastructure manager RFI (Rete Ferroviaria Italiana) has upgraded the railway track between Bologna in the north and Lecce in the south, a vital line called the Adriatic Corridor. Thanks to the opening of the Frentani Tunnel, it now allows for the passage of high-cube container trains with a maximum height of 4 metres.
The Frentani tunnel near Ortona, south of Pescara, is a double-track railway. It was the last remaining single-track section between Pescara and Termoli and, it has opened the corridor for the transport of larger cargo. This is a major milestone, as the corridor was designed for the transportation of high-cube trains, which can load lorries, large containers and trucks with special goods.
The aim of the upgrade is to encourage intermodal traffic and to increase connectivity of the Southern Adriatic ports with the rest of Europe, enabling new services to unfold. On 4 December, Italian operator Mercitalia Rail launched an intermodal service carrying semi-trailers between Bari Lamasinata and Verona routed via the Adriatic Corridor.
The project was carried out at a total budget of 25 million Euros and it adheres to European standards for the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) railway corridors, which together make up the core network in Europe.
RFI and mother company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS) are continuously upgrading the Italian railway network to comply with European rules. The aim is to enable traffic of 750-metre length trains with an axle weight of 22.5 tonnes and eliminate the remaining railway bottlenecks in Southern Italy. This should promote intermodal traffic throughout the entire Italian peninsula. In addition, the companies want to make Southern Italian ports attractive hubs for sea traffic from Far Eastern countries.