- On The Bridge
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- Joined: 17 Nov 2021 16:24
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.
Boarding the Iginia
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
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- On The Bridge
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- Joined: 17 Nov 2021 17:25
- Location: South West Surrey UK