Italy’s first long-distance high-speed rail link has finally started service. The new link between Milan and Bologna will cut the journey time from Milan to Rome to three hours, with trains, known as
Frecciarossa (Red Arrows) travelling up to 350 km per hour.The €6.9bn investment by Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), the state railway company, is the largest in the Italian rail network.
Italy already has two small high-speed lines, between Turin and Novara in the north and between Naples and Salerno in the south. However the Milan-Bologna line marks the launch of a high-speed service between the country’s financial and political capitals.
The link is also set to challenge Alitalia on the busy Milan-Rome air route. The Frecciarossa aim to capture 60 per cent of the passenger traffic - or about 5m people - over the next two years.
The three-hour Milan to Rome service will begin next December after completion of outstanding work and will be available on the non-stop route between the two cities. Journeys with stops at Bologna and Florence will take three hours and 30 minutes.