The Anonymous Widower

From Novara To Aosta

I travelled between Novara and Aosta stations with a change at Ivrea.

My observations follow.

The Route

The train used the classic Milan-Novara-Turin railway, which is double track and fully-electrified, until Chivasso station.

At Chivasso, the train took the Chivasso-Ivrea-Aosta railway, which is mainly single-track and only electrified as far as Ivrea.

Until Ivrea, the route is fairly flat, but then it climbs into the mountains.

Paddy Fields

There is a lot of rice-growing around Novara and there were paddy fields alongside the line.

I’d seen paddy fields from a train before in Malaysia, but these fields lacked one feature of the Malaysian fields.

In Malaysia, many fields had a large nesting box above the field.

Apparently, paddy fields attract rats and in Malaysia venomous snakes used to go in to catrch and eat the rats.

The problem was that farmers, also got bitten by the snakes.

The boxes were built to attract birds of prey to live above the fields to control the rat population.

The birds are not some exotic species, but barn owls, which are native to much of the world. I’ve even seen them in the Galapagos Islands.

Ivrea Station

Ivrea station with its three platforms, acts as an interchange station between trains from Aosta, Chivasso, Novara and Turin.

The line to Aosta is not electrified, so diesel trains have to be used on the climb into the mountains.

Use Of Bi-Mode Trains To Aosta

This article in the Railway Gazette is entitled Electro-Diesel Flirt Unveiled.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The first electro-diesel version of the Flirt multiple-unit family was unveiled at Stadler’s Bussnang plant in Switzerland on June 15, two years after the Valle d’Aosta region awarded a €43m contract for the supply of five units and the provision of five years of maintenance.

The Flirt3 units are scheduled to enter service on the Aosta – Torino route in May 2018. Bimode operation will remove the need for passengers to change trains at Ivrea to reach Torino Porta Susa station, where diesel operation is not permitted.

Using the trains from between Turin and Aosta is a classic use of bi-mode trains.

  • Between Turin and Ivrea, electric power will be used.
  • Between Ivrea and Aosta, diesel power will be used.

It’s a bit different to the application of a UK-version of these Stadler Flirts, in the flat lands of East Anglia.

Currently the service between Turin Porta Nuova and Aosta stations are generally hourly and take the following times.

  • Aosta to Turin Porta Nuova – Two hours seven minutes with an eight m,minute change at Ivrea.
  • Turin Porta Nuova to Aosta – Two hours twenty-three minutes with a sixteen minute change at Ivrea.

Adding in the turnround at both ends and there is a five-hour round trip.

Using the bi-modes, there is an obvious saving in that passengers won’t need to change trains at Ivrea.

But will the new trains have a faster performance on both sections of the route?

Certainly, the five trains ordered could run the service with a five hour round trip.

The real improvement would come with a four hour round trip, but I think that would be a challenging ask.

May 30, 2018 - Posted by | Travel | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] In From Novara To Aosta, I described the route, where similar Stadler trains will be used on the Chivasso-Ivrea-Aosta railway to reach the town of Aosta. I would suspect that the Italian route could be more challenging, than anything South Wales has to offer. […]

    Pingback by More Information From The International Railway Journal About The New Wales And Borders Franchise « The Anonymous Widower | June 5, 2018 | Reply


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