Italy to prioritise rail freight when Frejus Railway partially reopens 22/04/24

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Italy will try to have a few freight trains running again through the Frejus Railway, the main border crossing to France, before its full reopening. The line has been completely closed since August 2023 due to a massive landslide in Saint-André à La Praz, roughly 20 kilometres from the French border with Italy.


Predicting when this infrastructure will be fully back on track is quite a hard task. Current estimates claim that the line can be reopened towards the end of this year. On the other hand, some think that a full reopening of the Frejus cannot be achieved before mid-2025. Rixi, during a G7 meeting last week, asked to have a few freight trains running already before the end of this summer.

What the Italian Deputy Ministry proposed is similar to what has happened with the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the main rail border crossing between Italy and Switzerland. Partially closed in August due to a derailment, priority was initially given to freight trains, as finding alternative routes for them is a much bigger hurdle than it is for passenger convoys. The impact of these disruptions across the Alps are having an atrocious impact on Italian rail freight operators.

Terzo Valico in Genoa to be operative by 2026

Other than the update of the Frejus situation, Rixi also made a few statements about the so-called Terzo Valico. The new railway connecting, the port of Genoa to the rest of the TEN-T Rhine-Alpine Corridor, shall see the first trains running in 2026. By then, 75 per cent of the infrastructure is expected to be ready, as the Italian Deputy Ministry of Transport Edoardo Rixi mentioned.

The new line aims to give a significant boost to rail freight operations to and from the Ports of Genoa, one of the most important in Italy. Currently, only fractions of the Terzo Valico are available for use. In the north, the first 8.5 kilometres of the infrastructure, between Rivalta Scrivia and Tortona, were inaugurated at the beginning of 2024. In the south, the rail tunnel providing last-mile access to the port of Genoa, was adapted in August 2023.


Author: Marco Raimondi