Civil works to upgrade railway between Switzerland and Italy

The Italian manager of infrastructure RFI is going to develop several civil works to improve rail freight traffic between Novara in the north of the county and the bordering Simplon Pass in Switzerland. The project will be carried out between 2019 and 2026.

RFI will build a new rail track between Vignale, close to Novara, and the station of Sant’Agabio in Novara to take cargo trains out of the urban area and increase rail traffic. In addition, it will construct a new logistics area connected with the railway track and the motorway between Novara and Freiburg (southern Germany) to support multimodal traffic. The facility will enable the transferof cargo between lorries and trains. Finally, RFI will build a new 35 km-long track on the stretch Novara-Oleggio-Arona. This last infrastructure is expected to be completed in 2026.

Eliminating bottlenecks

The railway between Sempione and Novara, crossing Domodossola in northern Italy is congested. This leads to a slow down of rail freight growth. Therefore, upgrading this railway is essential. Moreover, trains arrive at the rail freight station of Novara through only a single track, another element causing bottlenecks.

Once the civil works are completed, all cargo traffic between Central Europe and Novara will comply with all the EU safety and signalling rules and recommendations. This should give a push to rail freight and multimodal traffic. Novara is a cross point between Genoa and Rotterdam and between Milan and Turin, the main Italian industrial hubs, which see a huge demand for rail freight services.

Author: Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez is RailFreight's correspondent in Spain.

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