A train every four minutes between Milan and the Alto Milanese. It will not be a subway, mind you, given that Eurocity and freight trains also enter the indication of maximum capacity. But certainly the frequency of trains – including regional and suburban trains – will increase significantly.
It is the fruit ofhuge investment that the FS Group will make on the tripling-quadrupling of the Milan-Rho-Gallarate railway, one of the busiest backbones in Lombardy, if not in Northern Italy. The investment falls within the Commercial Plan Special Edition PNRR, updated precisely according to the new availability of financial resources allocated by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
For the Milan-Gallarate, the horizon is 2026. The upgrading of the Gallarate-Rho line “foresees in the first phase the quadrupling of the Rho-Parabiago section (8 km), with the adaptation of the Vanzago Pogliano stop, the construction of new stop of Nerviano and the refurbishment of the Parabiago station with the construction of new abutting tracks ”. Two new tracks will be built, respectively one alongside the existing even track and one alongside the existing odd track: in this way the central tracks will be reserved for suburban services (high frequency) while the external tracks will be specialized for fast relations, ie direct trains, Eurocity for Switzerland, freight traffic.
The new section will have a maximum speed of 150 km / h, equipped with the modern ERTMS / ETCS L2 safety system.
It will also be a “trivialized” line: that is, it will allow you to use a track, in case of emergency or necessity, even in the opposite direction to the usual one: it is a useful solution, for example, if one of the two tracks blocks for some reason.
On the section there will be – in fact – a distancing of the trains to 4 ‘(theoretical capacity); traffic management on the section will take place from the Central Post of Milano Greco Pirelli.
Image of the Saronno-Milan line: here too the tracks are specialized, two for local traffic (with stops at all stations) and two for direct traffic (with an intermediate stop only in Bovisa)
The “control tower” of Gallarate
Among the “projects already present in the Commercial Plan February 2021 edition” there is also another connected work, namely the “upgrading of the Gallarate node”, on which a new centralized apparatus is planned (the “control tower” of station, one of the most important in Lombardy for the number of trains and the complexity of the tracks).
The Gallarate station will have a new “control tower”
The Rho-Gallarate project instead foresees the overall revision of the Rho station layout, to allow the grafting of the new quadrupling.
The Fs-FerrovieNord connection for Malpensa
AND also confirmed the construction of the Y fitting between the RFI line and the FerrovieNord line, south of the Busto Arsizio plant, through a residential area.
A questionable choice (in the literal sense of the word), given that in parallel we are also proceeding with another project, that of the Gallarate-Terminal 2 connection which should have the same function: to bring trains from the FS network to Malpensa.
Frecciarossa at Malpensa
About Malpensa. The connection between Malpensa and Frecciarossa services is not mentioned in the investment plan. Technically it is already possible, so much so that ephemeral connections with high-speed trains had already been seen in the past.
The question remains commercial: it is worth “extending” the trips to Malpensa? For years Fs has gone there with lead feet, despite the fact that in Europe there are numerous airports connected directly to high-speed or long-distance trains (mostly with “passing” stations, but in some cases also terminus, such as Geneva Airport).
Frame of a video of the Frecciarossa test run in transit in Saronno
However, the top management of FS had already included a provision for the activation of services: the Frecciarossa was to arrive “by 2023”, as was announced in May 2019.
A few months earlier, a first test run had been carried out with a Freccarossa towards Terminal 2 of the airport, passing through the only street possible today, that is to say passing through Porta Garibaldi, Bovisa and Saronno.
Technically, as mentioned, there are no obstacles, even if the path that the High Speed trains should take is rather tortuous, especially inside Milan (between Centrale, Garibaldi and Bovisa FN). However, it is different once you have direct access, which is that of the “Link Y” between Legnano and Busto FerrovieNord or the new Gallarate-Terminal 2: at that point access will be easier. The paradox remains that two new, short sections that have an identical function are being designed (and financed).