“Enjoy the journey” should have been the motto for the reopening of the Fabriano-Pergola train route. The destination is so important nowadays, that we almost forget to look out from the window, while we travel. And the lucky people that got the tickets for the historic train traveling this October must have enjoyed a wonderful panorama.
Last spring, the reopening of the Fabriano-Pergola route was unexpectedly announced for the fall, although purely for tourism. This route was once part of the Urbino – Fabriano line, that allowed many people (mostly commuters) to reach also Rome. In 1987 only the Pergola-Fabriano section survived, but in 2013 the line was completely abolished due to a landslide.
You can now imagine the memories and the stories that have been collected throughout the years around this train. On September, 26th the so-called Subappennica Italica finally reopened! A diesel locomotive from the 1960s pull 4 historic carriages from the 1930s, also called terrazzini because of the balconies on which one could stand outside while driving. There was also a special carriage for bicycles, for tourists willing to cycle from the small train station of Bellisio Solfare to Pergola.
The excitement was febrile for many months! The old small train station and the old railroad crossing had to be renovated and be ready to be used again, after so many years! No grass was allowed to grow on the railway: in June an inspection was carried out on the entire track, from the rails to the bridges, the tunnels, the transitions and the station buildings. July and even August were used to make everything looking beautiful and functioning again; The Italian Railways Fund helped with the financial part.
A lot still had to be done: removing weeds, clearing tracks, painting stations while expecting the first ride for Sunday 26 September. Nevertheless, the deadline was met successfully, congratulations to all organizers and helpers!
In total, three journeys were planned: 26/9, 3/10 and 24/10, departing from Ancona to Pergola at a speed of 30 km/h and via several intermediate stations. Our team was very curious and also excited to join one of these rides, but unfortunately the booking and information system was quite chaotic and complicated. Isabelle tried several times to book a place, but she didn’t succeed. To cut a long story short, we decided to forgo the train ride itself and try to catch the train while moving or waiting at one of the train stations.
I can say that I was an active part of this train journey. Not from the organizational point of view, but because one of the planned stops included the visit to the sulphur mine in Cabernardi (Sassoferrato) (we talked about this in one of our posts). I was the responsible for the dispatching of the guides, and all three days were very hectic! The train hosts about 200 people and I had to coordinate the guides for all of them!
So I left Elke, Ursel, our loyal reader, and Isabelle follow the train all the way from Fabriano station to Pergola. On October, 3rd they caught the train in Fabriano, while waiting for the whistle to head towards Sassoferrato. The previous Sunday the train was quite delayed: was it maybe for all the authorities that had to take an interview?
The platform in Fabriano was full of train spotters who, of course, wanted to immortalize everything! They were not the only ones! I’ve been told that many were waiting for the train along the road just to wave hello!
Isabelle, Elke and Ursel couldn’t just be satisfied with some pictures while the train was standing. They had to drive to the next stop, Sassoferrato-Arcevia. From Sassoferrato train station, a bus would transport the passengers who had signed up to the sulphur mine site in Cabernardi.
Continuing towards Pergola, there were plenty of opportunities to take some pictures along the way!
They reached in time the station of Pergola, to take a photo of the buses driving the passengers to the museum of the gilded bronze Roman statues.
The arrival of the train to one and each train station turned out to be a very festive event: Italian flags were hoisted and the local authorities were waiting.
The train would not return until tonight and remain here all afternoon. The ideal time to take a look inside.
Since we couldn’t enjoy the ride, we got the permission from Viaggiatori del Mondo (world travelers) to share their video of the recordings they made on board the train ride! Enjoy watching.
A great initiative to celebrate the European Year of Railways ! We hope that this ride can be replicated also next year, open and easily accessible to tourists and commuters again. This line is not the only one that should be retrieved: the region wishes to complete the 2-track Ancona-Orte-Roma connection and to commit itself to the HST Bologna-Lecce. Who knows, do we dare to wish there will be trains from Urbino to Fano again in the future?