Catania, 25 March 2019
Construction work on the new Palermo-Catania railway line gets underway today, with the connection set to revolutionise the development of mobility throughout Sicily.
Danilo Toninelli (Minister of Infrastructure and Transport), Marco Falcone (Regional Councillor for Infrastructures), Carmelo Giancarlo Scravaglieri (Mayor of Catenanuova) and Maurizio Gentile (CEO of Rete Ferroviaria Italiana - being the Italian railway network - and Commissioner for the Palermo-Catania-Messina route) were present at the ceremony held along the Bicocca-Catenanuova track to mark the commencement of works.
The new high-speed connection will reduce travel times between the two cities and guarantee a greater capacity along the tracks, thus improving the travel experience for all Sicilians, benefiting the entire transport system and the environment.
The new Palermo-Catania line, being an integral part of the European TEN-T Scandinavian-Mediterranean rail corridor, is one of the operations planned to improve mobility in Sicily. The Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (FS Italiane Group) investment plan ultimately totals 13 billion euro dedicated to the realisation of new infrastructure and the technological consolidation of the existing network.
The project to double the Bicocca-Catenanuova track has a value of 415 million euro. Activation of an initial track is planned for 2021 whilst operations on both tracks will conclude in 2023, bringing to an end the first functional phase of the new high-speed rail link between Palermo and Catania.
Upon the conclusion of the works along the Palermo-Catania axis, it will be possible to travel from Palermo to Catania in under two hours. Progressive reductions in travel times are expected even prior to this date, thanks to the activation of certain stages of the new sections. The economic investment for the entire project totals around €8 billion.
The planned operations will also allow trains to travel at a maximum speed of 250 km/h, improving rail traffic standards in terms of regularity and punctuality.
In addition, important and significant operations to enhance infrastructure and technological upgrades for the entire railway network are planned, with the removal of certain level crossings and redevelopment operations within stations.