Arenaways to open two train routes in Piedmonte, including the Saluzzo track. Saluzzo pictured during winter with Monviso snow-capped mountian in the background

Arenaways to reopen train routes in Piedmonte

By Region News North-west Italy Travel & Tourism Travel in Italy

Italian private operator Arenaways has secured a public service obligation (PSO) contract in the Piedmont region. CEO Matteo Arena shared this news with Railway Gazette International on May 21.

On 27th March, Piedmont signed a 10-year PSO contract. It starts on January 1, 2025, and ends on December 31, 2034. Arena explained the contracts were awarded under EU Regulation 1370/2007. This allows direct awards for routes under 500,000 train-km/year.

Two lines reopening in Piedmont

The first line to reopen will be the Cuneo – Savigliano route. Services will begin on January 1, 2025. This line will serve the medieval town of Saluzzo, which has around 17,000 residents. Saluzzo has had no rail service since 2012.

The second route will link Ceva with Ormea. RFI is currently upgrading the infrastructure. “As soon as works are completed, we start the services,” Matteo Arena said.

Arenaways plans to lease four ATR220 diesel multiple units. These are manufactured by Pesa and will be leased from regional operator Trasporto Passeggeri Emilia Romagna.

These two lines are among 12 in Piedmont where passenger services stopped in 2012. Two lines reopened last September with services by Trenitalia.

Second Market Entry

Arenaways is owned by Longitude Holding. Its shareholders include Matteo Arena, rail contractor Generale Costruzioni Ferroviarie, and ferry operator Caronte & Tourist.

Matteo Arena’s father, Giuseppe Arena, founded Arenaways. The company briefly operated Torino – Milano services in 2010-11. At that time, the regulator denied Arenaways permission to stop at intermediate stations. This was to protect Trenitalia’s subsidised regional services. Arenaways could not attract enough passengers and stopped operations in 2011.

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

Last October, Arenaways requested to operate open-access passenger services on one international and six domestic routes.

Working with local tourism industry

Not only will the new lines provide connections for local residents to neighbouring towns, it will also aid the local tourism industry.

The Wedge-Saluzzo-Savigliano line will provide up to 28 trains per day, between 6am and 9pm. It is not a standalone service. According to longitude holding’s website, there will be complete regional integration with tickets and fares.

In addition, Arenaways will run special trains throughout the year integrating existing tourist and historical connections. The tourist offerings include:

  • creation of integrated train+museum, train+events, train+skipass tickets
  • catalogue of self-guided trips and excursions in the cities adn areas served by the train

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