Rail in Sicily and Calabria to benefit by 36 billion euros investment

Source: Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane

Italian national railway company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS) will invest 36 billion euros in the infrastructure of Sicily and Calabria. The amount is split evenly on each region with an aim to improve the two regions’ railways, roads and motorways.

Matteo Salvini, Italian Vice-President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, shared the information a few days ago as part of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR). Part of the investment amount will be added to the approximately five billion euro investment for the connection between Palermo and Catania, a rail link connecting Sicily from northwest to east, announced by FS in March.

Moreover, Luigi Ferraris, FS Group CEO, stated in the same event that the national railway company will invest 200 billion euros in the next ten years for infrastructure development. Specifically for Sicily and Calabria, the investment will “make it quicker to travel by train from Palermo to Messina and from Salerno to Reggio Calabria,” said Salvini. Currently, intermodal services are connecting Sicily from Messina to the Italian peninsula.

Sicily-Calabria intermodal

Sicily is connected by ferry to mainland Italy, and from there, the corridor stretches all the way to the Nordic countries. At the end of last year, Italian Railway’s freight subsidiary, Mercitalia, announced the new services ​​between Catania-Bicocca terminal, in Sicily, to Marcianise, 25 kilometres north of Naples.

For the section between the island and the Italian mainland, FS will provide the ferry services connecting the missing link between the two sides. It currently takes two hours to cross the strait by ferry, which could hinder the efficiency of this transportation route. Things are not working if the cargo “has to queue for 4 hours to get on the ferry and cross the Strait”, said Salvini.

Thus, the current Italian government has been quite vocal about its interest in building a bridge to connect the two territories, a project discussed since the 19th century that does not look promising in the near future. Just like Salvini’s comment on the future impact of the new investment clarified: “This is not a bridge between Messina and Reggio; it is a link in the network”.

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Author: Chengfan Zhao

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