ON DECEMBER 8 Paris Transport Authority announced that its international subsidiary RATP Développement had won the concession to design, build and operate the light rail network in Firenze.

The three-line network serving Firenze and the neighbouring municipality of Scandicci will eventually total 29·5 km. Construction work is already underway on Line 1, which is expected to open in 2008. The concessionaires will be responsible for building the other two routes, which are scheduled to enter service by February 2010.

The 30-year operating concession covers all three routes. A new operating company is to be formed, in which RATP will hold a 51% stake; the remainder will be owned by the existing municipal bus company ATAF.

The network will be standard gauge, and electrified at 750V DC. Line 1 will run for 7·5 km from Firenze SMN station west to Scandicci, serving 15 stops. A fleet of 17 low-floor Sirio LRVs will operate a 3min interval service at peak times. Work has started on the bridges over the Greve and Arno rivers and the main depot and operations control centre at Scandicci.

Line 2 will run for 9 km from Peretola airport to Piazza della Libertà, serving the university and the city centre; it will have 19 stops. The 4·5 km first phase of Line 3 will link the hospital at Careggi with Viale Strozzi serving 9 stops. The remaining 8·5 km would extend the line to the FS station at Rovezzano, adding a further 15 stops.

RATP Développement is already active in Tuscany; it is a shareholder in Ferroviaria Italiana (LFI) which operates rail and bus services around Arezzo.