PLANS TO introduce rolling motorway services over the 175 km Fréjus corridor between Aiton-Bourganeuf in France and Orbassano in Italy have been cleared by the European Commission. On August 4 the EC confirmed that it had given the go-ahead for the formation of Autoroute Ferroviaire Alpine, a 50:50 joint venture of SNCF and Trenitalia which will operate the trains.

The project was reviewed by Brussels under its merger regulations, but found not to be anti-competitive. However, the Commission has reserved the right to examine the project again under its powers to monitor state aid. According to Trenitalia, the main driving force for the project is environmental protection, and the rail service will require state subsidy to cover the operating costs.

No date has been set for the start of operations, but the initial timetable envisages four trains each way on weekdays and three each way on Saturdays. The trains will be worked by two rakes of 14 Modalohr swing-tray wagons, coupled to an amenity coach for the lorry drivers (RG 5.02 p266).

  • On July 31 Trenitalia Managing Director Roberto Renon signed an agreement with Raimund Stüer, Managing Director of TX Logistik AG, to take a 15% stake in Germany's second-largest private rail freight operator. The deal is Trenitalia's first acquisition of a minority share in a foreign rail operator, and Renon said it marked 'a significant step for Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato in its effort to grow and strengthen its position on the international cargo market.'

    This year TX Logistik expects its turnover to reach €50m, almost double the €26m achieved in 2002. The partnership with Trenitalia Cargo is intended to boost growth on the north-south axis, which accounts for more than 60% of Italian cross-border freight traffic.