THE RESTRUCTURING of Italian State Railways took a further step on July 1, with the legal formation of infrastructure company Rete Ferroviaria Italiana. Part of the process to meet European directives on the separation of infrastructure and operations, the move also paves the way for wider implementation of open access to the Italian network.

Headed by Mauro Moretti, RFI is essentially the former FS Infrastructure Division, which began to operate as a legally independent company on July 10, although it remains 100% state-owned. RFI has around 42000 staff to operate and maintain the 16108 km network.

FS has effectively been transformed into a holding company, with its operational activities now handled by two main subsidiaries: RFI and the operating company Trenitalia formed last year (RG 12.00 p826).

The FS annual results for 2000, presented to parliament on June 21, showed that its losses had been more than halved from 2880bn lire in 1999 to 1335bn. Gross Operating Margin moved from a loss of 835bn lire in 1999 to a profit of 210bn. When the restructuring began in 1996, FS lost 3896bn lire, with a negative operating margin of 2011bn.

Passenger revenues increased 6% above 1999 to 3954bn lire in 2000, whilst freight revenue rose 5·1% to 1423bn. At the same time, production costs have been cut from 11219bn lire in 1996 to 9180bn in 1999 and 9039bn last year. FS says the figures for the first quarter of 2001 show a continuing improvement.