ITALY: The landmark high speed station at Napoli Afragola, designed by the late Zaha Hadid, was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni on June 6, ahead of the start of regular services on June 11.

Arriving on a Freccciarossa 1000 high speed train, Gentiloni was accompanied by Minister of Infrastructure & Transport Graziano Delrio, FS Chairman Gioia Ghezzi and CEO Renato Mazzoncini and the CEO of Trenitalia Barbara Morgante. The group was welcomed by the President of Campania Region Vincenzo De Luca, RFI President Maurizio Gentile and Italferr CEO Carlo Carganico.

Design of the station was awarded to Hadid in 2003 following an international competition, but its construction was subsequently delayed. The station has been completed over the past two years by Astaldi at a cost of €60m. The 400 m long four-level structure occupies an area of 3 ha, offering retail and office space as well as the station facilities.

Located to the northeast of the city, the through station allows high speed trains to serve the Napoli region’s 3 million inhabitants without calling at the existing central terminus. Journey time from Roma will be just 55 min using the existing high speed line. Afragola will initially be served by 18 trains each way per day, nine operated by Trenitalia and nine by NTV. These will connect Afragola with major cities along the north-south high speed axis as far apart as Torino and Salerno, and there will be daily trains to Venezia and Reggio Calabria.

At present the multi-modal hub provides a bus interchange and car parking. Completion of the second phase, scheduled for 2022, will see the opening of two extra platforms for regional trains to Caserta and Benevento which will connect with the Circumvesuviana railway. The station will also be served by the new Napoli – Bari high speed line.