The Fréjus railway tunnel portal on the Italian side

France-Italy Frejus railway closure extended until end of 2024

The Fréjus railway tunnel portal on the Italian side Shutterstock

The Frejus Railway, the main rail border crossing between Italy and France, has been closed since 27 August after a disastrous landslide. According to Olivier Thevenet, vice president of the departmental council responsible for infrastructure, mobility, and travel, the infrastructure will not reopen before the end of 2024.

This means that trains will have to wait even longer than previously planned to start running again along the line, as previous estimations claimed that the tunnel would reopen in the summer of 2024. Thevenet stated that even this new deadline might vary due to geological and meteorological conditions, as various French media, including public broadcaster TV5Monde, mentioned.

Cleanup has started, but uncertainty reigns supreme

In order to ensure a safe reopening of the Frejus Railway, the site of the landslide is currently being purged to remove unstable rocks that could cause further issues. In total, over 5,000 cubic metres of rock need to be cleared. The first 1,000 were mined on Sunday 5 November with an explosion. This procedure is being carried out by the Savoie Region, French infrastructure manager SNCF Réseau, and CITEM, a local company that specialises in projects in hardly accessible areas. According to Thenevet, these actions alone will take until at least early summer 2024. The main issue is that it will not be possible to intervene to restore the railway infrastructure until this process is complete.

Author: Marco Raimondi

Marco Raimondi is an editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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