The Anonymous Widower

Where Are The New Trains For The Aosta Valley?

One of the reasons I went to Northern Italy this week was to get a glimpse and a possible ride in the new Stadler Flirt trains for the Aosta Valley.

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.

I didn’t see any sign of the trains, as I rode between Turin, Ivrea, Novara and Aosta, which were supposed to start services last month!

Perhaps, the trains have software problems?

 

June 1, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

TiLo

Treni Regionali Ticino Lombardia or TiLo is a train company. which is described like this in Wikipedia.

TILO (Regional Trains Ticino Lombardia) is a limited company established in 2004 as a joint venture between Italian railway company Trenord and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB CFF FFS), both companies participate in the equity of TILO SA with participation of 50%.

The company’s goal is to develop the regional cross-border traffic between the Canton of Ticino and the Region of Lombardy.

I came across one of their thirty Stadler FLIRT trains at Milan Centrale station.

Note how Stadler have solved the step problem, as compared to the train I took to Navara.

Stadler are producing three fleets of trains for the UK.

The trains are reported to have gap fillers, like the FLIRT in the pictures.

May 29, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

London To Novara

I flew from between London City and Milan Linate airports and then it was a coach and train to Novara.

These are the various legs of my journey.

Home To London City Airport

I took the following route.

It took just fifty minutes.

It is my closest airport.

London City Airport to Milan Linate Airport

I flew with British Airways Cityflyer.

  • The Airport was busy and there were delays at security.
  • We left a few minutes late.
  • The plane was an Embraer 190 SR.
  • I had a default aisle seat, but the guy in the window seat didn’t come, so I had room to spread about.
  • Some got a free snack, but they had no gluten-free, so BA gave me an extra water from Thirsty Planet.

I took these pictures during the flight.

The flight was more expensive than easyJet or Ruanair, but more refined and not as expensive as British Airways from Heathrow.

It was a route, I’d use again.

Milan Linate Airport To Milan Centrale Station

This was a five euro transfer in a coach from the airport to Milan Centrale station.

As I’d bought the ticket for the bus from a guy by the baggage reclaim, it was a painless business.

Wikipedia says this about Milan Central station.

Milano Centrale has high speed connections to Turin in the west, Venice via Verona in the east and on the north-south mainline to Bologna, Rome, Naples and Salerno. The Simplon and Gotthard railway lines connect Milano Centrale to Bern and Geneva via Domodossola and Zürich via Chiasso in Switzerland.

The station is also an important stop on the Milan Metro.

Looking up on Loco2.com, it would appear that most major cities in Italy have an hourly direct service to and from Milan Central.

Many are high speed trains, like the French TGV, which are called Freciarossa.

My journey between aiirport and station took forty minutes.

Unless I need a specific train, I rarely buy a ticket until I get to the station in Italy.

You can either go straight on to your destination on the next train, or dump your luggage in the left luggage lockers and take a couple of stops on the Metro to the cathedral to have a quick look at Milan.

Milan Centrale Station To Novara Station

To get to Novara station, I used the hourly express commuter service, that goes to Turin.

Note.

  1. The hour’s journey took about an hour and cost me five and a half euros.
  2. My train ran to the timetable.
  3. Usually, you can board a train about fifteen minutes before it leaves.
  4. The Italians paint a lot of rails white. It keeps them cool!

I arrived in Novara about five hours after I took off from London City Airport, so the total journey time coul;d have been under seven hours.

 

May 29, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Building Railways In The UK Is Easy

I have just read this article on Global Rail News, which is entitled French Senate approves Lyon-Turin rail link.

That sounds easy until you read this from the Wikipedia entry.

Test drilling found some internally stressed coal-bearing schists that are poorly suited for a tunnel boring machine, and old-fashion Drilling and blasting will be used for the short corresponding sections.

It is not going to be a simple tunnelling job. It is more akin to some of the eighteenth and nineteenth century tunnels through the Pennines. Except that the tunnel will be 57 kilometres long and modern explosives are better.

It will carry a lot of freight, in addition to passengers from Paris and Lyon to Northern Italy.

But I doubt, I’ll ever be able to take a High Speed Train from London to Milan, as I’ll be long gone before everything is completed.

January 28, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Watching The World Cup

Obviously, Brazil is out for most fans and although I’d like to go to Manaus to see England play Italy on the 14th June, it is probably prudent not to go.

But why not go and watch the match in Italy. I could fly out on the Friday, watch the match in a bar on Saturday night and then take the train back on the Sunday or the Monday.

Cities that come to mind are Venice, Naples, Salina and of course Taranto.

You may ask why Taranto! Just don’t go near a Royal Navy ship or establishment on the twelth of November, as often they are celebrating the battle that marked the start of the end of the battleship and was then imitated by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.

May 12, 2014 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Did The Cleaner Get It Right?

Or perhaps he or she knows more about modern art that I do.

The story is reported in full here on the BBC. It’s not the first time cleaners have got confused according to the article. It even happened at the Tate Britain.

Surely, if art is good, it should appear to all tastes.  Even cleaners with little education on  the minimum wage!

February 20, 2014 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Berlusconi And Putin

This story in the IBTimes is also in The Times and is almost unbelievable. Here’s the first three paragraphs.

Vladimir Putin has met Pope Francis in Rome, amid rumours in the Italian media that he is set to appoint the disgraced former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi as Russia’s Ambassador to the Vatican.

 Berlusconi is to face a period of community service after his conviction for tax fraud, but could be offered an escape route by his long-term Russian friend. 

As ambassador to the Vatican, Berlusconi, who is also appealing a conviction for sex with an underage prostitute and facing new allegations of a £2.5m bribe to a senator, would receive diplomatic immunity from any custodial sentence and be free to maintain his lavish lifestyle.

At least the one thing you can say about Berlusconi, is that he isn’t gay, which is probably why he appeals to the Russian, who  Peter Tatchell called the Czar of Homophobia.  I hope the Pope is sensible and brave enough to give the dwarf Italian lecher, the Papal Order of the Boot.

Remember that Berlusconi and Putin at 1.65 m and 1.70m are both shorter than my 1.71.

November 26, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments

Venice Limits Cruise Ships

I love Venice and so did my late wife, C. We must have gone about five or six times and it was no surprise, that the first place abroad I visited after her death, was Venice, to see if I could holiday alone. This post contains a lot of how I feel about Venice.

So Venice to me is special and I’ll probably go again this winter.  The winter to me is the best time to visit, as there are less tourists and day-trippers gumming up the city. I always stay in the same hotel close to St. Mark’s Square and even next week, prices are high.  So I suspect that even in the winter now, it’s getting lots of visitors.

So to see that the city is to limit the number of cruise ships that visit, as reported on the BBC, is to me a very good thing.

Looking at prices and knowing the city as I do, I would recommend that if you want to visit Venice, you book the best hotel you can afford close to St. Mark’s Square, fly into the Marco Polo airport and then take the ferry to the centre. It looks like nights at the beginning of the week are best and as Venice is a city which is on the go all the time, Monday to Wednesday, aren’t the disasters some cities are. But go out of the city the back way, using the train to a contrasting city like Milan, Bologna or Verona and fly back from there.  Remember, every sizeable city in Italy is worth visiting and there are very few, where you can’t enjoy yourself sightseeing, eating and drinking for a couple of days.

We must find better ways of visiting Venice, otherwise the city that I love, will be ruined by tourism.

November 6, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Florence Is Being Destroyed By Tourists

Not my words, but those of Ottaviano de Medici, a direct descendant of the Medicis, who created Italy’s jewel. He is quoted in this article from the Sydney Morning Herald. Here’s the first paragraph.

A descendant of Florence’s famous Medici family said on Tuesday that mass tourism was a “threat” to his native city and called for it to be put on a UNESCO list of endangered areas.

I must admit, I get a bit fed up with tourists, especially in London.  It’s one of the reasons, I’m a member of many of the arts institutions in London, as it means I can bypass queues and crowds, and get invited to special events like this one at the British Museum.

So if I go to Florence or Venice, I always go in the winter, as the threat of cold and wet weather keeps most tourists away.  It was one of the great charms of my visit to Genoa recently, that the city was almost empty.

Tourists may be a curse, but they do bring in money and create employment.  We need to find a balance as to how we charge them for their disruption.

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Little Bits Of Italian Paper

One slight irritant in Italy is that the law says you must have a receipt.  Unlike in the UK, Italians seem very reluctant to bin them for you.

October 21, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment