Arenaways_2025 Piedmont connections images Arenaways

ITALY: Italian private operator Arenaways has been awarded a public service obligation contract to run passenger services on two lines in the Piemonte region which were closed for passenger traffic in 2012, CEO of Arenaways Matteo Arena told Railway Gazette International on May 21.

On March 27, the Piemonte region signed a 10 year PSO contract starting on January 1 2025 and lasting until December 31 2034. Arena explained that the contracts had been let under clauses within EU Regulation 1370/2007 that allow direct awards for routes below 500 000 train-km/year.

The Cuneo – Savigliano line will be the first to reopen, with trains planned to start from January 1 2025. It will serve the historical mediaeval town of Saluzzo, which is home to around 17 000 residents but has had no rail service since 2012.

The second route to be relaunched would link Ceva with Ormea. The infrastructure is currently being upgraded by RFI to allow a regular passenger service. ’As soon as works are completed, we start the services’, Arena says.

Arenaways is to lease four ATR220 diesel multiple-units, manufactured by Pesa, from regional operator Trasporto Passeggeri Emilia Romagna.

The two lines are among 12 in Piemonte on which passenger services were abandoned in 2012; of these, two have reopened in last September with services operated by incumbent Trenitalia.

Second market entry

Arenaways is owned by Longitude Holding. Its shareholders are Matteo Arena, rail infrastructure contractor Generale Costruzioni Ferroviarie and Caronte & Tourist which operates ferries in southern Italy.

Matteo Arena

Matteo Arena

Matteo Arena’s father, Giuseppe Arena, founded Arenaways, and the company briefly ran Torino – Milano open access services in 2010-11. At the time, the rail regulator refused to grant Arenaways approval to call at intermediate stations on this route, believing this would have threatened the viability of Trenitalia’s subsidised regional services. Arenaways failed to attract sufficient passengers and operations ceased in 2011.

Legal action followed, leading to Trenitalia and infrastructure manager RFI being fined approximately €300 000 for abuse of their dominant position and anti-competitive behaviour.

In October last year, Arenaways submitted requests to operate open-access passenger services on one international and six domestic routes.