Frejus Railway to remain closed until summer 2024 after landslide
The railway line between Chambéry and Turin, the main railway crossing between France and Italy, has been closed since 27 August due to a massive landslide. Unfortunately, it seems that repair work along the Frejus Railway will drag on until next summer. Friday, the Prefect of Savoy François Ravier, said it would take about a year to restore the rail infrastructure.
The landslide occurred in Saint-André à La Praz, roughly 20 kilometres from the French border with Italy. The closure of the so-called Frejus Railway is a significant hurdle for the rail freight sector, especially in Italy. The country is currently somewhat logistically isolated, not only from France. For example, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which gives Italy access to Switzerland and thus the rest of Europe, has been only partially active after a derailment in early August. The situation concerning the landslide in France is slightly better when it comes to the road sector since the A43 highway has already been reopened more than three weeks ago.
It is hard to find alternatives for rail freight
However, it is unrealistic to expect that the road can take up all the rail freight volumes left stranded by the recent events. Captrain, one of the most active rail freight companies for Italy-France traffic, is trying to transfer volumes along alternative routes. The company said last week that eight weekly trains are being re-routed through the Ventimiglia-Menton border crossing. These will be added to the four Captrain convoys usually running along this line. These trains will mostly transport steelworks and feldspar products. The company also stated it would divert some intermodal services via Domodossola and the Simplon, between Italy and Switzerland. Despite Captrain’s efforts, it is impossible to find alternatives for all services. The company pointed out that it usually runs 80 pairs of trains along the Frejus Railway.