Exercises in the San Donato Tunnel to test safety procedures

In the San Donato tunnel, on the direct Florence-Rome line, emergency response procedures were checked

In the event of an emergency, verifying the effectiveness of the procedures, response times and coordination of structures in the territory means putting into practice the periodic training of railway personnel, together with the entities and institutions involved in the rescue operations.  

It was with these objectives that the FS Italiane Group, in collaboration with the Fire Brigade of the provincial command of Florence, organised an exercise in the San Donato tunnel last night, along the direct Florence-Rome line.

All operations were carried out in accordance with the health protection regulations in force.

The scenario of the exercise

During the night, in the absence of traffic, in transit at 11:50 pm along the San Donato tunnel, a work vehicle that checks the infrastructure – an activity carried out along the direct Florence-Rome line whilst it is being transferred from the Florence Campo Marte station to the Valdarno Nord junction – catches fire due to a breakdown, stopping about 3.5 kilometres from the south entrance (on the Arezzo side).

The staff aboard the vehicle attempts to put out the fire with the extinguisher provided and failing to do so, alerts the operations room to block railway traffic before fleeing to take cover in an upwind position.

Entering the tunnel through an entrance from the San Donato Sud emergency area, the Fire Brigade avails of a bimodal road-rail vehicle, able to ensure that the fire is extinguished.

There was no impact on railway traffic.


The activities are envisaged as part of a long-established territorial collaboration with the Fire Brigade Command in order to improve the speed of operations, the safety standards and the protection of people, property and the railway environment.


Last night’s exercise was aimed at verifying the interaction between the Rete Ferroviaria Italiana’s Operations Room and the Fire Brigade’s Operations Centre. Additionally, monitored was the functionality of the safety systems with which the tunnel is equipped, including emergency lighting, a water-extinguishing system and loudspeaker systems, as well as the effectiveness of the communication tools present in the tunnel.

Furthermore, the functionality of the Fire Brigade’s bimodal road-rail vehicle in the tunnel and the operating procedures connected to its use in the railway sector were put to the test.