WORK began in the Benevento area of Campania on March 22 to excavate the tunnels for the Telese - Vitulano section of the Naples - Bari High Speed/High Capacity (HS/HC) Line project in southern Italy.

The tunnel excavation work is being carried out using traditional methods, but with monitoring systems in place allowing safe conditions for a workforce of 400 to work at maximum capacity around the clock.

The €470m contract for the work was awarded by Italian Rail Network (RFI) to the Consorzio Telese consortium, formed by Ghella, Itinera, Salcef and Coget Impianti, in 2021. Italferr is supervising construction work.

The project also involves the track doubling, upgrading and partial realignment of the existing 30km conventional line between Frasso Telesino and Vitulano. Four new stations are planned at Amaorosi, Solopaca, San Lorenzo and Ponte Casalduni, while the existing station at Telese will be rebuilt.

Both the preliminary and final design work for the entire Naples - Bari Line, which will link port cities on Italy’s Tyrrhenian and Adriatic coasts, has been carried out by FS Group’s Infrastructure Hub engineering group. The line will form an important part of the European TEN-T Scandinavian-Mediterranean Railway Corridor, as well as helping to strengthen the rail network in southern Italy.

The new rail infrastructure - which is scheduled for completion in 2027 - will improve the connectivity of the southeastern Puglia region with the provinces of Campania and with the Milan - Rome - Naples HS/HC Line. Both projects are financed by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).

Italy's minister of infrastructure and transport, Mr Matteo Salvini, makes a speech at the tunnelling launch. Photo credit: FS Infrastructure Centre

Present at the launch of the tunnelling work were Italy’s minister of infrastructure and transport, Mr Matteo Salvini, along with local stakeholders. Italferr says the Naples - Bari is the first project in Europe to be awarded Envision certification for sustainable, environmentally-friendly civil infrastructure, and the first railway to achieve such recognition worldwide.

The Telese - Vitulano construction project has also seen the first appearance in central-southern Italy of the Italian State Railways (FS), RFI and Italferr’s "Cantieri Parlanti" (Talking Construction Sites) initiative.  Under the programme, local residents and stakeholders are informed about a project’s aims and progress through media including videos and webcam footage available on the website, information boards erected in towns impacted by the project, and signs and billboards placed where roads and railways pass close to construction sites.

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