EUROPE: Construction of the new railway between Lyon and Torino via a base tunnel under Mont Cenis is ‘a priority’ for France and Italy, the two governments stressed on March 8 as they held a summit in Venezia.

During the summit, Italian Minister of Infrastructure & Transport Graziano Delrio and his French counterpart Alain Vidalies signed a protocol on sharing and indexing project costs, supplemental to the agreement to build the new line that had been signed on February 24 2015.

According to the ministers, the two governments are now working steadily to have the project agreements ratified by national parliaments and in force by the end of 2016. This would enable the project timescale agreed with the European Commission to be maintained.

Delrio and Vidalies also welcomed the inclusion in their respective national budgets of funding to maintain the service carrying lorry semi-trailers on Modalohr swing-tray wagons between France and Italy. Launched on an experimental basis between Aiton and Orbassano in 2003, this service is now to be established on a permanent footing. Within current funding limits, the ministers have agreed to support modifications to the terminals that would allow new services to be introduced.