Along the Genoa Brignole–Genoa Principe line: an emergency drill in the San Tomaso tunnel

The diversion of a regional train was simulated

Genoa, 24 July 2021

Organised by the FS Italiane Group, coordinated by the Prefecture of Genoa and directed by the Fire Brigade in coordination with Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, the exercise is one of the initiatives planned to monitor the synergy of activities between the parties involved: the Provincial Command of the Genoa Fire Brigade, the 112 emergency telephone number for the Liguria Region, the number 118 for first aid, the Italian Red Cross, Regional Civil Protection, the Police Headquarters of Genoa, the Municipality of Genoa, the Ligurian Railways Police Department, the Genoa Command of the Arma dei Carabinieri, the Guardia di Finanza and – for the FS Italiane Group – the companies Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, Trenitalia and Grandi Stazioni Rail.

The setting

The exercise took place along the stretch of railway that connects the Genoa Piazza Principe and Genoa Brignole stations via the underground, involving the San Tomaso and Traversata Vecchia tunnels for a total length of 2,300 metres, completely within the tunnel.

The diversion of a regional train was simulated. The personnel aboard immediately raised the alarm with an emergency call, whilst simultaneously asking for help and providing first aid to the passengers.

The rescuers (the Fire Brigade and health emergency service) received consent from the RFI Emergency Manager to access the site before entering the tunnel to rescue the 20-plus people involved.

The Fire Brigade also intervened using a dual-modal road-railway rescue vehicle delivered by RFI as part of a Memorandum of Understanding stipulated at a national level. Although the use of this vehicle is foreseen for tunnels longer than 5,000 metres, on this occasion it was utilised as a support vehicle but not on the railway line.

There was no impact on railway circulation.


This particularly important activity will facilitate the activation on 1 August of a new worksite within the Genoa node – the Terzo Valico Project – within the Colombo tunnel. The aim is to construct two new tracks (to be sixfold) between the stations of Genoa Piazza Principe and Genoa Brignole.

In the adjacent San Tomaso tunnel, railway traffic will be reactivated at the same time, having been suspended for a number of years due to the construction activities for adaptation to the European Interoperability Technical Specifications.

The exercises form part of the activities envisaged by the Convention between the FS Group, the Liguria Region Civil Protection and the protocol in place with 118 through which the Rete Ferroviaria Italiana provides the coordinates of the points of access to the line in order to improve the speed of intervention, the safety standards and the protection of people, things and the environment.


The main objective of the exercise is to test the Emergency and Rescue Plan issued by the Prefecture of Genoa, verifying the effectiveness of the coordination and communication systems, both inside and outside the tunnel. Also verified was the flow of information, in particular that pertaining to the safe handling of the infrastructure in the event of an emergency, along with the times for raising the alarm concerning the external rescue structures and the intervention teams.

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