Pisa–La Spezia–Genoa railway
The Pisa–Genoa railway is one of the trunk lines of the Italian railway network. It runs along the Ligurian coast from Genoa to Pisa through the Riviera di Levante and the Versilia. It passes through the cities of Massa, Carrara and La Spezia. South of Pisa the Pisa–Rome line continues along the Tyrrhenian coast to Rome. The line is double track and is fully electrified at 3,000 V DC. Passenger traffic is managed by Trenitalia.
The line was created by the connection of two separate projects. The first, between Pisa and Massa was an extension of the existing line from Pisa; the second was what was called the Ligurian railway.
On 15 April 1861, the Livornese Railway Company (Italian: Società delle Ferrovie Livornesi) opened the first 19 kilometre section opened between Pisa Porta Nuova station (now called Pisa San Rossore) and Viareggio (later called Viareggio Scalo). In the following December this was followed by a connection in the south with Pisa Centrale station and in the north a ten kilometre section from Viareggio to Pietrasanta. In 1862 two further sections were opened: on 1 February 3.5 kilometres between Pietrasanta and Seravezza and on 1 November seven kilometres between Seravezza and Massa.
In 1865, the Livornese Railway Company was absorbed by other companies and the Florence–Pistoia–Pisa and the Pisa–Massa–La Spezia lines were transferred to the Società per le Strade Ferrate Romane (Roman Railways). In 1869 the Roman Railways transferred them to the Società per le strade ferrate dell'Alta Italia (Upper Italian Railways).
The project for a Ligurian railway that would connect Ventimiglia with Massa (thus connecting the existing railways of central Italy) was agreed by a royal decree on 27 October 1860 but its realisation, because the rugged Ligurian coast, proved the most difficult and costly project of the period. This line was built initially by the state railway of the Kingdom of Sardinia (Piedmont), but the line was assigned to the Upper Italian Railways on its establishment in 1865.
The first section of the project, 17 kilometre between Massa and Sarzana was opened on 15 May 1863 and was followed by the more difficult Sarzana–Vezzano Ligure–La Spezia section on 4 August 1864. On the 23 November 1868 the first part of the northern end of the line was opened with the 36 kilometre section between Genova Brignole and Chiavari. This was followed by the extension to Sestri Levante on 25 April 1870.
On 25 July 1872 with the opening of the connecting tunnel between Genova Brignole and Genova Piazza Principe The section of line to Sestri Levante was no longer isolated and was connected over the Apennines but especially to the line to Ventimiglia, which had been completed on 25 January 1872.
Sestri Levante–La Spezia
This was the most difficult section of the entire project. The railway had to run for long distances next to the sea and follow the twists of the coast to minimise the number and length of tunnels. In addition the bad weather of the winter of 1872 caused landslides, which forced changes to be made to the route during construction. Furthermore, since long stretches of coastline inaccessible by land, requiring the carriage of materials by sea the violent storms delayed the work.
Finally on 24 July 1874 the line was opened to traffic. This stretch of line was truly revolutionary because it ended the isolation of small towns of the eastern Italian Riviera (the Riviera di Levante), including the famous Cinque Terre villages, which finally had a permanent link with the rest of the world. This stretch included 51 tunnels totalling over 28 kilometres in a total length of 44 kilometres and 23 bridges with a total length of nearly a kilometre. Because of the difficult topography of the area and the harsh conditions encountered during construction, the line had been built as a single track. Duplication was completed in 1971 with the opening of the last section between Framura and Monterosso, which included the new Levanto station.
The Genoa-La Spezia line was electrified in two phases:
- Genoa–Sestri Levante was electrified with the three-phase system (3,700V at 16.7 Hz) in May 1925 and converted to the 3,000V DC system in February 1948.
- Sestri Levante–La Spezia was electrified with three-phase system in April 1926 and then converted to 3,000V DC in April 1947.
Abandoned single track lines
Since the 1930s the line has been doubled on the section between Sestri Levante and La Spezia, leaving a long stretch of abandoned line. Today, the abandoned line, including tunnels, still exist and can be explored on foot between Levanto and Deiva Marina. The section between Deiva Marina and Riva Trigoso was converted into a one-lane road, which is now operated in alternate directions, controlled by traffic lights.
- Kalla-Bishop, P. M. (1971), Italian Railways, Newton Abbott, Devon, England: David & Charles, ISBN 0-7153-5168-0