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Milan-Ljubljana High-Speed Rail Link Nears Reality

In a significant move towards enhancing cross-border connectivity, Italian and Slovenian rail operators are conducting trial runs with the Frecciarossa high-speed train, connecting Venice to Sežana in southwestern Slovenia. This initiative aims to establish a regular service between Milan and Ljubljana.

Reports from various Italian rail news sources and Euronews Travel indicate that the inaugural trial journey commenced from Venice’s Mestre station on December 11, heading towards Villa Opicina, close to the Slovenian border. This collaborative effort saw the joining of teams from the Italian national train operator and Slovenian Railways.

Confirming these developments, Slovenian Railways announced plans for an initial schedule featuring one train each way on the Milan-Ljubljana route. This direct service will make stops in several Slovenian towns popular with Italian tourists – Postojna, Divača, Sežana – as well as Italian cities like Trieste, Venice, Padua, Verona, culminating in Milan.

The chosen Frecciarossa train for these tests, the ETR 700, is uniquely equipped with the ERTMS/ETCS system. This advanced European signalling and train control technology is expected to unify rail transport standards across the EU, replacing varied national systems. Slovenia has already widely implemented this system.

Euronews Travel cites officials from Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, Italy’s national railway company, expressing optimism about reviving the cross-border service. Currently, rail travel between Slovenia and Italy requires a change at Villa Opicina, with no direct service since a European co-funded project ceased five years ago.

While Slovenian Railways is eager to commence the Milan-Ljubljana service, a specific start date remains unconfirmed. Italian media speculate a potential launch as early as April 1, 2024.

The proposed schedule includes Eurocity 137, departing Milan after 3pm and arriving in Ljubljana after 10pm, and Eurocity 136, leaving Ljubljana before 7am to reach Milan around 2pm.

Trenitalia, part of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, introduced the 300 km/h capable Frecciarossa trains in 2008, linking major Italian cities. This new connection represents a significant step in enhancing European rail connectivity.

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