The epic railroad along italian Appennines run again into the green heart of Italy. From Sulmona to Isernia discovering hidden villages and natural reserve.
The Sulmona-Carpinone-Isernia railway was an important link between the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Sea. Born in 1897 and closed to passenger service in October 2011, "Le Rotaie Association” of Isernia worked to avoid final closure.
Railroad was closed to passenger transport, Italian Rails announced the intention to close the line in Castel di Sangro and reducing the kilometers until Abruzzo borders. Buses replaced trains for daily transportation, but timetables are reduced and the links between Sulmona and Isernia have great difficulties in the winter. Locals must travel by car or leave the small towns preferring the nearest cities
After a trial phase on 2012, tourist journeys saved the railroad from definitive closure and brought over 30,000 travelers in 3 years, first by number of passengers in Italy.
The "Transiberiana d'Italia" project became an example of tourism management for several countries and rail lover associations. the charm of the tourist experience has stimulated new interest and new perspectives for the territories involved. Unfortunately, train hire costs and poor cooperation with institutions are still a limit to the development.
Actually, FS Foundation rents trains and onboard service, price can change according to the route. Several offer free service for the reception of tourists.
"Le Rotaie" Association has improved management to reduce costs by increasing volunteer engagement. few weeks ago national law transfer rail tourism to the regions. Pending new meetings, the Association has increased relations with the municipalities interested to promote tourism.
Evidence of success
"Transiberiana d'Italia" leads the ranking of Italian railway tourism projects winning the award for best practice of sustainable tourism in 2015. The impressive demand for travel tickets and the increase in tourist railways in Italy show further margins for the growth of the offer.
During these years we had management difficulties due to the costs of train renting. After defining the partnership with FondazioneFS it is necessary to implement the tourism master plan. New muciparities are ready to join the project but it is still difficult to raise funds for entrepreneurship.
Potential for learning or transfer
The "Transiberiana d'Italia" project can be replicated along lots of minor railway lines of Europe.
The experience of the trip admiring beautiful landscapes, discovering small towns and local traditions are the real strength for every trip.
The involvement of tourism companies and a good marketing strategy will help the project to be always interesting even in seasons with usually bad weather. Living a unique experience will guarantee high demand and great charm.
Usually, when the collaborations and marketing initiatives decrease, the tourism projects lose appeal for the entire territory.
The reuse of already existing infrastructure rich in history stimulate sustainable tourism projects and generate important local economies useful to combat the depopulation of small villages. Big investments are not necessary but a good medium and long term planning capacity is essential for a long life.
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