The Italian railway system is one of the most important infrastructure in the country, with a total length of 24,227 km (15,054 mi). The network is recently growing with the construction of the new high speed railway lines.

The total length of active lines is 16,723 km (10,391 mi), of which 7,505 km (4,663 mi) are double tracks. RFI divides lines into 3 categories:

  • fundamental lines Fundamental lines are 6,131 km (3,810 mi) long;
  • complementary lines 
  • node lines (di nodo), which link complementary and fundamental lines near metropolitan areas for a total 936 km (582 mi).

Most of the Italian network is electrified (11,921 km (7,407 mi)). Electric system is 3kV DC on conventional lines and 25kV AC on high-speed lines.


High Speed Rail

High Speed rail in Italy currently consists of two lines connecting all the country's major cities. The first line connects Milanilan to Salerno via Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples, the second runs from Turin to Venice via Milan, and is under construction in parts. The network is designed for a top speed of over 300 km/h (190 mph).

Service is provided by Trenitalia, although other companies, such as NTV, are going to compete on the same lines beginning in 2012.

Several projects are underway to expand the network. Plans include both more domestic connections such as to Genova, and new international connections to France, Austria and Slovenia.


The following High Speed rail lines are in use:


Florence – Rome         Km 254

Rome– Naples            Km 205

Turin – Milan               Km 125

Milan – Treviglio          Km 23

Padova – Venice         Km 25

Milan – Bologna          Km 215

Bologna – Florence      Km 79


High Speed Rolling Stock


Service on the line is provided by Trenitalia using Eurostar Italia trains. Several types of high speed train, belonging to three major families, carry out the service:

  • ETR 500: non-tilting, speeds up to 362 km/h (225 mph), used as the Frecciarossa;
  • ETR 600, ETR 610: tilting, speeds up to 250 km/h (160 mph), used as the Frecciargento;
  • ETR 480: tilting, speeds up to 250 km/h (160 mph), used on other services as the Tbiz

Secondary stock:

  • ETR 450, ETR 460, ETR 485: tilting, speeds up to 250 km/h (160 mph) for other services, used as Eurostar Italia.
  • ETR 470: tilting, speeds up to 250 km/h (160 mph), operated by Cisalpino 

New Pendolino ETR 610 are being introduced to the Italy-Switzerland route. TGV trains also run on the Paris-Turin-Milan service, and possibly between Paris and Rome in the future.


Main Corridors


Milan to Salerno Corridor 

The Milan to Salerno is the major north-south corridor of the high-speed network.

The Milan - Bologna segment opened on 13 December 2008. Its construction cost was about 6.9 billion euro. The 182 km (113 mi) line runs parallel to the Autostrada del Sole, crossing seven provinces and 32 municipalities. There are eight connections with historic lines. At the Reggio Emilia interconnection a new station designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava is being built. Calatrava has also designed a signature bridge where the line crosses the A1 motorway. The line will travel through a new multi-level station at Bologna (Italy's principal railway junction) designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, currently under construction.

The Bologna - Florence segment opened on 12 December 2009, allowing a 37-minute journey between the two cities. The Bologna-Florence high-speed section was particularly complex to build mainly because about 93% of its 78.5 km (48.8 mi) runs through tunnels under the Apennines range. The line has a nine tunnels, from 600 meters to 18.5 km (11.5 mi) long, separated by short surface stretches (less than 5 km in total). Florence will have a major new multi-level high speed station at Belfiore designed by British architect Norman Foster.

The Florence- Rome segment consists of the older "Direttissima" (literally: most direct) line between the two cities, with a length of 240 km (150 mi). The first high-speed line in Europe, the "Direttissima" was completed in between 1977 and 1986. This segment is currently being upgraded by High Speed Train. Entering Rome, high-speed trains have the option of stopping at either the new intermodal station at Tiburtina, developed by architects ABD Associate led by Paolo Desideri, or Termini Station.


The Rome to Gricnignano di Aversa segment heads south from the Italian capital. Service on the first new high speed segment of the project started in December 2005. This line runs through 61 municipalities in two regions (Latium and Campania) and connects with the existing national rail network at Frosinone Nord, Cassino Sud and Caserta Nord. The segment from Napoli to Gricignao di Aversa (18 km) is under construction. In the Campania region the line passes through Afragola where a major new transfer station will be developed, designed by Iraqi-born architect Zaha Adid


Turin to Trieste Corridor

The Turin to Novara segment of the  Turin to Trieste Corridor runs for 85 km and opened in February 2006. TheNovara to Milan segment opened on 12 December 2009, allowing a 59-minute journey between Milan Centrale and Turin Porta Nuova (45 minutes from Milan Porta Garibaldi to Turin Porta Susa). The two segments combine for total of 125 km, 80% (98 km) of which are in the region of Piemonte (provinces of Turin, Vercelli and Novara) and 20% (27 km) in the region of Lombardy (province of Milan). To minimize its impact on the area, theTurin to Milan segments run inside the existing infrastructure corridor, next to the A4 Turin-Milan motorway.

The Milan to Venice segment includes stretches from Padova to Mestre (for Venice) and Milan to Treviglio now in service. Priority sections of track are under construction: the approval procedures for the Treviglio to Brescia tracks will begin shortly.



Future Lines

  • Milan- Genoa
  • French TGV and Italian  AV Frejius railway
  • Milan-Swiss border- Chiasso: a route connecting the Italian AV network to Switzerland and Germany is conceived through a Swiss project  Alp Transit, which includes the Gotthard Base Tunnel and the Lotschberg Base Tunnel
  • Brenner Base Tunnel: the Brenner Base Tunnel will link Verona, Innsbruck, and Munich Berlin to Palermoas part of the Trans European Transport Network
  • Trieste-Slovenian border-Ljiubljana: a connection with Ljubljana would encourage rail development into Eastern Europe and link the Slovenian Pendolino


New Railway Plan For South Italy (High Capacity Lines)

The High Speed lines will be connected in South Italy with the following High Capacity lines:

Naple – Bari – Lecce

Salerno – Reggio Calabria

Messina – Catania

Messina – Palermo

Catania - Palermo




Trenitalia is the primary train operator in Italy. Trenitalia is owned by Ferrovie dello Stato, itself owned by the Italian Government.

Passenger Transport

Trenitalia offers national rail transport in Italy and international connections to Austria, Belgium, France,  Germany, Hungary,  Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland. The company operates both local (Regional) and long-distance trains

Regional trains

Regional trains are local trains which travel within a region or between neighboring regions. Trains usually stops in almost all stations, thus connecting small centers to big cities. Local train rolling stock comprises about 4500 carriages, 850 locomotives and more than 2600 other light rail cars

Long-distance trains

Long-distance national trains are divided into 3 main divisions: the Frecce (arrows) and Eurostar trains, Intercity trains and night trains. The first are generally considered to be high-end service and usually connect major cities. There are three types of Frecce:

  • Eurostar Italia Alta Velocità Frecciarossa and Eurostar Italia Alta Velocità Frecciargento, which are high-speed trains and run mainly on high-speed lines;
  • Frecciabianca, which run on traditional lines;
  • EurostarItalia 

Intercity trains are cheaper and serve also medium-sized cities, thus are generally slower. Night trains operate mainly between north and south of Italy and are comparable to intercitylevel

Freight Transport

Trenitalia Cargo division transports about 28 billion tons km. Its rolling stock comprises more than 30,000 freight cars. International traffic accounts for the 53% of the total. Trenitalia Cargo operates in Europe in collaboration with other european train operators or with the subsidiary TX Logistik AG, which operates in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria,Switzerland, Netherland and Hungary


Conventional Rolling Stock

The Trenitalia conventional rolling stock, at the end of 2010, was composed by:

-          1767 line elettric locomotives

-          280 line diesel locomotive

-          967 elettric light veichles

-          677 diesel light veichles

-          99  high frequency trains

-          204 minuetto trains

-          114 elettrical trains

-          790 diesel shunting locomotives

-          7.476 passengers’ train

-          125 passengers’ train and cars

-          30.331 freight wagons


source: Wikipedia