Sun Aug 5th, 2012 at 03:28:12 AM EST
FSE and FCU are usually referred to as "private" companies, but "private" is not used in any sense that the EC would approve of - it simply means that they are not part of Trenitalia. In both cases, they are run by the corresponding region.
front-paged by afew
Ferrovie del Sud Est (FSE)
is the main train system in Apulia, providing local train services through the region, with Trenitalia providing intercity service. One notable feature of FSE is that they do not run trains on Sundays, using buses as well (and, in fact, even some routes on other days are replaced by buses in the summer). Here are the FSE lines:
I only travelled on the Bari-Taranto line, as far as Martina Franca. I started in Bari, where you will have to search for a while for the FSE station if you take the wrong exit from your train. This time I was lucky: from the main exit there are clear signs to the station:
They have acquired a lot of new trains recently, but mine was one of the old ones:
At Martina Franca:
Grotte di Castellana:
Trulli near Martina Franca (I saw a great view of trulli and some small wind turbines, but I doubt the train driver would have agreed to stop so I could take a picture...).
On the train to Perugia, I met Roland Grundheber, a German painter/clown
He was on his way back to Umbria after having gone to the sea for a break in his hike along the old Roman road from Trier to Rome. You can read (sorry, Helen, it's in foreign) about his journey here, but the detailed description only gets as far as the Alps, where a heavy downpour destroyed his cellphone.
Ferrovia Centrale Umbra (FCU) is smaller train system serving mostly the Terni-Sansepolcro line, with some additional seasonal service. It seems to have become part of "Umbria Mobilita", but you still see the FCU logo in various places. There are actually 2 stations in Perugia: the main one for Trenitalia and S. Anna for FCU, which are quite far apart, with the two systems only meeting in a suburban station, Ponte S. Giovanni. This actually makes some sense: Perugia is on a hill, with the main station at the bottom. But S. Anna is closer to the town centre, at the end of a fairly steep, narrow, line, that couldn't be used for mainline trains. From S. Anna there is an escalator system that takes you up to the centre. But if you arrive at the main station you can get to town using the minimetro:
These are small cars, completely automatic, with about 1 minute to wait for the next one. At least, assuming you get there before 9pm. If you arrive later, you'll have a long wait - the people who live nearby complained about the noise, so it closes down early. Here is my attempt, despite the evening sun, to show it turning round at the end of the line.
S. Anna station and FCU trains
From Trestina it's a short walk to Morra
I went there to see the Signorelli frescos in S. Crescentino (above), though Helen may also be interested in a visit
Citta di Castello station
S. Francesco used to have Rafael's Sposalizio della Vergine. The French stole it and then "returned" it to Milan. In Citta di Castello they remember only the latter part:
Cortona station. The departure information lists FCU trains to Orvieto as well as the Trenitalia ones, but the FCU ones don't run in August. Cortona:
Orvieto station, and the funicular up to the town.