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Railways in

Italy

Rittnerbahn train
A train on the Rittnerbahn in Südtirol / Alto Adige.
Car no.24 is a type BDe4/8, originally built in 1977 for the Trogenerbahn in Switzerland.

The first public railway in the states that would later unite to form Italy was between Naples and Portici, a distance of a little over 7km, in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It was built to standard gauge (1435mm) and opened on 3rd October, 1839.

Italy was unified in the 1860s, by which time the various former states had a total of around 2000km of standard gauge railways. Considerable new railway building took place in the late 19th century, although apart from trunk lines connecting the earlier separate systems, development was fragmented an ill coordinated.

Following nationalisation in 1905/1906, a programme of modernisation began. This continued after the first World War and included the important Rome - Naples and Bologna - Florence Direttissime, the predecessors of modern high speed railways.

In the 1990s the first of the true high speed railways opened between Rome and Florence; others have subsequently opened or are under construction.

Apart from the national network, there are a number of private or regional railways, either standard or narrow gauge. A few major cities have Metros, and several have modern tramway systems.

National Network

Regional Operators

Tourist and Local Railways

Industrial Railways

Urban railways, metros, trams and funiculars

See also:

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Photo image from the Rittnerbahn / Ferrovia del Renon website

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