NTV set out plans in December 2012 to introduce its first service beyond Italy's core high-speed network. It wanted to start a service on June 9 of three round trips a day between Milan and Ancona using the high-speed line as far as Bologna. However, Trenitalia - which together with RFI are subsidiaries of Italian State Railways (FS) - announced on March 2 that it would introduce a twice-daily Milan - Ancona service on April 13 using its top-of-the-range Frecciarossa high-speed trains. This would supplement the nine Frecciabianca trains a day Trenitalia already operates between Milan, Ancona and towns along the Adriatic coast.
Trenitalia's announcement prompted NTV managing director Mr Giuseppe Sciarrone to go public on March 5 regarding his dissatisfaction with RFI. Sciarrone claimed that RFI had failed to respond to NTV's request for paths, space at Rimini station for an NTV Casa Italo lounge, and platform height adjustments at Pesaro and Rimini stations.
This provoked an angry response on March 6 from RFI which categorically denied the statements made by Sciarrone in some Italian media about "alleged obstacles" by RFI to NTV's requests. RFI said it sent NTV proposals for the track in question on March 5, which is one month in advance of the two-month deadline by which it must respond to such requests. RFI says this "reflects the maximum cooperation offered by RFI to NTV."
NTV had offered to pay up to €1m towards the cost of raising the platform height at Rimini station, but RFI says in its letter to NTV that this is not allowed under Italian law and anyway such works have to be planned in advance even if funding can be secured from the cash-strapped government.
NTV pointed out that an RFI press release contradicted its statement on funding infrastructure works as it said that funding by operators is not "contemplated" by the rules rather than being prohibited by law. As a result, NTV says it will discuss its proposal with the Ministry of Infrastructure "to allow the people of Rimini to have an adequate service."
NTV confirmed receipt of RFI's letter yesterday afternoon with a proposed timetable for the new service. "This brings us closer to the fulfilment of the start of the Milan – Ancona service from June 9," NTV conceded.