Trenitalia's Overnight Service From Sicily To Milano Centrale

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hhvferry
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Trenitalia's Overnight Service From Sicily To Milano Centrale

Post by hhvferry »

Some pictures, and videos if I can make them work, of a trip I took last month with Trenitalia's overnight service from Sicily to Milano Centrale (InterCityNotte service ICN1964). In Sicily the train has two legs - half of it (usually 4 or 5 coaches) starting in Syracuse with another 4 or 5 coming from Palermo. The two bits are then joined together at Messina before being loaded onto the train ferry for the short crossing over to Villa San Giovanni on the mainland.

The full journey takes around 22 hours; I joined the Palermo section about three hours into its trip at the port town of Milazzo, 20 minutes or so from Messina. After the train was assembled at Messina Centrale the ship we were shunted onto was the new (2022) Iginia.

Trenitalia's advance fares are pretty favourable if you book far enough ahead - I was travelling on my own on this leg and a 'Deluxe Uso Singolo - Cabina Intera' (private use of what used to be a First Class sleeping compartment) was €78.90 on a Super Economy fare, not bad for a journey scheduled to take more than 18 hours. There are cheaper shared couchette compartments and the Syracuse leg had one of Trenitalia's supposedly fancier Excelsior sleeping cars, where some of the cabins have en-suite showers.

Regrettably for many years there has been no dining car on Trenitalia's overnight trains so I'd had a meal before boarding, and brought along some snacks to keep me going. I also purchased a couple of Arancini from the bar on board the Iginia. A light breakfast tray was delivered to me the following morning. Something I'd not seen on an ICN before was a nicely produced breakfast menu together with a form to fill in advising the conductor of your preferences, including the time you'd like it bringing in. Judging me correctly as the sort of person who might swipe one of his new menus the conductor swiftly retrieved it from me after I'd handed over my form.

The Palermo to Milan sleeper is my favourite train in the world (and one whose timings I prefer to its southbound equivalent). It starts in beautiful, fascinating, edgy and misunderstood Sicily, has the excitement and intrigue of the train ferry then hurtles and screeches through the night before eventually depositing you the following morning in Milano Centrale, probably the most magnificent station in the world.

The current Italian government has revived plans to build a bridge across the Strait of Messina; if and when the train ferry is replaced more than a little bit of the magic of this trip will be lost so it's something I recommend doing, if you can, before that happens.

Major engineering work was underway at Milazzo. The present station only dates from 1991 when the line was realigned away from the centre of town. The old station, built in 1890, still stands but, abandoned for more than three decades, it is now in an advanced state of decay
Major engineering work was underway at Milazzo. The present station only dates from 1991 when the line was realigned away from the centre of town. The old station, built in 1890, still stands but, abandoned for more than three decades, it is now in an advanced state of decay

Something interesting and ancient lurking on the far side of Milazzo station
Something interesting and ancient lurking on the far side of Milazzo station

ICN1964 arriving at Milazzo from Palermo
ICN1964 arriving at Milazzo from Palermo

My compartment, relatively recently refurbished, and set up initially for day time use with the beds folded away
My compartment, relatively recently refurbished, and set up initially for day time use with the beds folded away

Amongst other things a towel and a travel box are provided by Elior Polaris, to whom Trenitalia subcontract the on-board experience
Amongst other things a towel and a travel box are provided by Elior Polaris, to whom Trenitalia subcontract the on-board experience

The contents of the box
The contents of the box

Arriving at Messina. The roundhouse sometimes has some interesting vintage rolling stock on display but, on this occasion, the selection was limited
Arriving at Messina. The roundhouse sometimes has some interesting vintage rolling stock on display but, on this occasion, the selection was limited

I headed to the rear of the train to watch us get shunted onto the Iginia
I headed to the rear of the train to watch us get shunted onto the Iginia

Boarding the Iginia

Iginia's train deck. The yellow boxes provide a rather inadequate bridge to the steep stairs leading to and from the sleeping cars. No level boarding here.
Iginia's train deck. The yellow boxes provide a rather inadequate bridge to the steep stairs leading to and from the sleeping cars. No level boarding here.

The section of the train from Syracuse had one of Trenitalia's 'Excelsior' sleeping cars in its rake which offer a theoretically more modern experience compared to the classic MU car I was travelling in (on the left)
The section of the train from Syracuse had one of Trenitalia's 'Excelsior' sleeping cars in its rake which offer a theoretically more modern experience compared to the classic MU car I was travelling in (on the left)

Iginia's train deck is open at the stern. ICN coaches badged as 'Comfort' provide accommodation in couchette compartments
Iginia's train deck is open at the stern. ICN coaches badged as 'Comfort' provide accommodation in couchette compartments

Looking forward on the Iginia's outside deck. Between the ship's funnels is an aft-facing second bridge for use when reversing out of port, especially in Messina
Looking forward on the Iginia's outside deck. Between the ship's funnels is an aft-facing second bridge for use when reversing out of port, especially in Messina

Arancini for sale on board
Arancini for sale on board

Shunting one half of the train off after arrival in Villa

The two halves being reconnected before being shunted round to Villa San Giovanni station

Villa San Giovanni
Villa San Giovanni

This somewhat grubby loco from the D.145 class was responsible for hauling us off the Iginia
This somewhat grubby loco from the D.145 class was responsible for hauling us off the Iginia

Despite sitting around for 40 minutes in Villa with our locos attached we are somehow running late. The combined train has now assumed the number ICN1962
Despite sitting around for 40 minutes in Villa with our locos attached we are somehow running late. The combined train has now assumed the number ICN1962

'Letti liberi'
'Letti liberi'

With the lower berth now turned down the compartment is set up for the evening
With the lower berth now turned down the compartment is set up for the evening

Breakfast choices
Breakfast choices

Breakfast and a copy of la Repubblica are delivered as we speed towards Milan the following morning
Breakfast and a copy of la Repubblica are delivered as we speed towards Milan the following morning

One of my earliest memories of travelling on Europe's overnight trains, in the early 1980s, is the 'Dangerous to lean out' notice in multiple languages beneath the window. It's utterly superfluous now since the large opening windows on all Trenitalia's MU cars were replaced in the early/mid 2000s with ones which have just a tiny opening at the top.
One of my earliest memories of travelling on Europe's overnight trains, in the early 1980s, is the 'Dangerous to lean out' notice in multiple languages beneath the window. It's utterly superfluous now since the large opening windows on all Trenitalia's MU cars were replaced in the early/mid 2000s with ones which have just a tiny opening at the top.

A preserved steam thingy plinthed up at the FS depot outside Milano Centrale
A preserved steam thingy plinthed up at the FS depot outside Milano Centrale

Arriving at Milano Centrale
Arriving at Milano Centrale

Milano Centrale trainshed
Milano Centrale trainshed

Motive power for the journey from Villa came from a a pair of E.403 electric locos which topped and tailed the train. E.403.001 led the way (.006 was at the rear). 001 was the lead loco of this somewhat troubled class, built for Trenitalia between 2005 and 2008. It's painted in the newish 'Intercity Giorno' (day trains) livery
Motive power for the journey from Villa came from a a pair of E.403 electric locos which topped and tailed the train. E.403.001 led the way (.006 was at the rear). 001 was the lead loco of this somewhat troubled class, built for Trenitalia between 2005 and 2008. It's painted in the newish 'Intercity Giorno' (day trains) livery

A Frecciarossa 1000 on the adjacent platform
A Frecciarossa 1000 on the adjacent platform

Milano Centrale
Milano Centrale

Milano Centrale
Milano Centrale

Milano Centrale
Milano Centrale

Milano Centrale
Milano Centrale
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Trenitalia's Overnight Service From Sicily To Milano Centrale

Post by Risberg »

Glad to see that not only ÖBB but lso Ferrovie dello Stato keeps up good night trains. A new IGINIA? Does anybody have pkotoes of her?
Author of "Fra LILLEBELT to SKÅNE" about train ferries and other railway owned ships in Scandinavia and the Baltic, in Scandinavian with English summaries. Free pdf-version by contacting me on "Private messages"
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Trenitalia's Overnight Service From Sicily To Milano Centrale

Post by colinb »

Fascinating account and images. Thanks for posting.
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