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Train Blogging: FSE, Minimetro, and FCU

by gk 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...).

Martina Franca

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.

Minimetro station

S. Anna station and FCU trains

Trestina station

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

Bank

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.

Orvieto Cathedral


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The end turn around thing is amazing.  Is the mini metro actually on rails, or is it a bus with guide type thing?

Lovely photos and story, thanks for sharing.

by njh on Fri Aug 3rd, 2012 at 11:50:31 AM EST
It's rail. It's actually the track that turns with the car on it - it is a bit scary the first time you see it, as the one in front of you starts turning while you are still moving into the station.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Aug 3rd, 2012 at 03:48:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wanted to ask about the noise, but found this in the meantime:

Italy: A greener way to travel to Umbria's capital | Travel | guardian.co.uk

Many locals though have given it a cold welcome, complaining about the continuous hum of the cable pulleys.

So it's a cable railway. It seemed non-standard even for peoplemovers, but I indeed find a different technological origin in the same article:

Built by Leitner Technologies, an Italian engineering firm better known for its ski gondolas and high-speed lifts, the mini metro is being hailed as an engineering first.

I hear a faint echo of the Monorail Song.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Aug 3rd, 2012 at 04:02:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article suggests that the metro is the key for keeping cars out of the city. I suspect that the wide array of escalators is equally, if not more, important. There are lots of escalators taking you up to the city centre, including a series of them from the S. Anna station that takes you underground through the old medieval city. But they don't make such exciting stories (or photographs....)
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Aug 3rd, 2012 at 04:05:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sort of like a newer version of San Francisco's cable cars.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 4th, 2012 at 10:42:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good luck running the SF ones without an operator. It's easier to do when you don't have cars around, and the worst you have to deal with are dogs. Or, more precisely, their leashes - the doors have signs on them warning you not to trip over dog leashes when getting on or off.....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sat Aug 4th, 2012 at 02:21:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Running the SF ones without an operator would not be an improvement, though it would be 'newer'.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 4th, 2012 at 04:17:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It wouldn't be as much fun either, because without an operator they couldn't have their famous bell ringing contest.
by sgr2 on Sat Aug 4th, 2012 at 04:43:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also you wouldn't be able to see the panic-stricken expression of the driver as he manipulates the antique controls while tourists walk right in front of the car.
by asdf on Mon Aug 6th, 2012 at 03:26:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since it is automatic - does it run only on one fixed line, or do you punch in where you want to go and computers handle the traffic?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Aug 4th, 2012 at 04:18:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its one fixed line. The link above gives the Minimetro site, here are the multimedia clips on that site.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 4th, 2012 at 08:06:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice pics.  Thanks for posting.
by ElaineinNM on Sun Aug 5th, 2012 at 09:33:28 AM EST
... specifically the picture of the furnicular and the Minimetro ... for this week's Sunday Train, Sunday Train: Cycle & Pedestrian Islands and Tiny Trains

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Aug 5th, 2012 at 09:05:25 PM EST
Nice post!  Can you cross post it to ET?  (or happy post it if you prefer)

Another bike-up-the-hill idea would be to take the basic ski t-bar/pom approach.  I have wondered whether a simple continuous rope belt with loops or knots to hold would allow a reasonably experienced cyclist to get hauled up a hill.  It would need to move fairly fast to allow for stability, but that would also make it fairly attractive as a commute-assist.

by njh on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 at 11:52:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The advantage of the Trampe is that it doesn't require the person to be an experienced cyclist. Beyond a more secure foot stand ~ something which cradles the ankle and calf a bit ~ would be something that you attach to your bike, and then away you go. It would go on the front handlebar and frame, like one of those things that hold the front wheel steady while you are working on a bike.



I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 8th, 2012 at 12:44:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the trampe seems fairly expensive to install compared to a tow rope.
by njh on Thu Aug 9th, 2012 at 01:03:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Something you can attach to the bike precludes continuous operation. A more secure footstand still allows you to pull your foot out at the top without having to stop the machine.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 9th, 2012 at 05:38:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually continuous movement of the cable does not necessarily require continuous movement of the attachment to the cable, but the engagement / disengagement mechanism is a safety-critical problem in industrial engineering.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Aug 9th, 2012 at 12:59:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ski tows are fairly reliable, but always have an attendant.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Aug 10th, 2012 at 07:14:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And yet, the Trampe does not have an attendant ~ that is essential to its functioning.

It seems very safe, given the slow speed. If someone falls off, and falls over, it will be a sideways fall, likely a fall off the bike. If the bike or the person then forms an obstruction, people further down the Trampe can pull their foot off. stand on the curb, and then either walk or bike up the hill, likely (though this might vary depending on local) first helping the person who fell.

The very precariousness of resting your foot on a small metal plate would seem to improve the safety of the device, since there's very little that could catch and drag someone, which is an issue of concern with any automated people mover.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 11th, 2012 at 02:12:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Lyon there has been much talk of a funicular or similar for bicycles, for mounting the fearsome Croix Rousse hill. It was costed at €15M and the idea was abandoned, though I see there is now talk of building a Trampe system as in Trondheim.

However, there is a project being built of a nature you didn't mention : a bicycle tunnel. The same Croix Rousse hill has a road tunnel running under it. A second tube was required, to bring it up to modern security norms; this tube will be dedicated to bicycle, pedestrian and bus traffic. It's to open in 2014.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 8th, 2012 at 12:32:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... there is also a tram/bicycle/foot bridge being built, to link the tip of the peninsula (almost literally an "island") to the left bank.

Lyon is becoming a fairly decent place to ride a bike.

And with that... I'm on my bike (down the dreaded Croix Rousse hill)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 8th, 2012 at 12:58:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On a bike? You're a courageous man.
Everybody know you get up and down the Croix Rousse via the traboules...
by Bernard on Wed Aug 8th, 2012 at 04:30:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... specifically the picture of the furnicular and the Minimetro ... for this week's Sunday Train, Sunday Train: Cycle & Pedestrian Islands and Tiny Trains.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Aug 5th, 2012 at 09:06:19 PM EST


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