MEETING in Lugano on May 4, representatives of Swiss Federal Railways, Italian State Railways, the Swiss canton of Ticino and the Italian province of Lombardia agreed to develop a cross-border rail link between the Gotthard and Simplon corridors. An international committee has been set up to manage the project and call tenders for construction.

Around 7 km of new line is needed to connect Mendrisio on the Gotthard route with Ariscate on the FS branch from Varese to Porto Ceresio. Together with upgrading of the existing lines, the aim is to create a direct link from the resorts of Lugano and Como to Gallarate on the Simplon line, which is close to Malpensa airport. This would reduce the need for air travellers from the region to travel via the centre of Milano.

CAPTION: Half-hourly Malpensa Express services between central Milano and the redeveloped Malpensa airport were due to start on May 30. Ferrovie Nord Milano began ghost running with its dedicated TAF fleet on May 5, although the flying junction with the Saronno - Novara line at Sacconago had yet to be completed