FS, Genoa-La Spezia line: Civil Protection exercise in the Biassa tunnel between Riomaggiore and La Spezia

The simulation involved the stoppage of an Intercity train following a 4.5-scale earthquake and the rescue of an injured train driver

Genoa, 7 November 2022

An Intercity train coming from Genoa and bound for Rome is given the signal to stop within the Biassa tunnel between Riomaggiore and La Spezia Centrale, following a seismic event with a magnitude of 4.5 on the Richter Scale. The driver is then injured while carrying out their duties.

This was the setting for the simulation that took place this morning, between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., in “smart get out” mode, meaning “by command post” on a telematic platform, with RFI staff being sent to the emergency tunnel yard in order to test the intervention times, without mobilising other people or equipment.

The protagonists of the exercise were the FS Italiane Group with the coordination of the Prefecture and the Police Headquarters of La Spezia, the operational structures of the Regional Civil Protection, the Provincial Fire Brigade Command of La Spezia, the 118-emergency service, the Liguria Region NUE 112 (European Emergency Number), the Railway Police, the Carabinieri Command of La Spezia and Riomaggiore, along with the Guardia di Finanza.

The Intercity train in transit through the earthquake-stricken area, which falls within the red zone, was stopped upon being given the signal so necessary checks on the infrastructure could be conducted, per the Rete Ferroviaria Italiana procedure. The train operator exits the locomotive to conduct certain checks following a collision before the stop, only to stumble and fall, fracturing their lower limb and rendering them unable to move. They manage to notify the Train Conductor by telephone, who immediately calls for medical assistance with an emergency call and, whilst waiting for the intervention, endeavours to provide first aid to their colleague.

Particular attention was paid to verifying the effectiveness of the activation procedures for emergency management. Also assessed were the aptitude for cooperation and coordination of the subjects responsible for the various organisational and rescue activities, the system’s alerting and information flow, along with the communication systems that rendered the roles and various activities carried out by the personnel of each body involved in emergency management visible to all structures involved in handling the emergency.

The exercise forms part of the periodically-planned initiatives to monitor the effectiveness of the flow of communications and the chain of coordination, as well as the readiness of the territorial structures. This is all with the aim of improving safety standards and the protection of people, property and the environment.

The common objective is always to test the emergency and rescue plans for the tunnels and to field-test the technical intervention and assistance system outlined in the Memoranda of Understanding entered into between the FS Group, the regional Civil Protection units and the 118 national emergency telephone number.

There was no impact on railway traffic.