Val di Riga, railway variant to go.
Icm and GCF for the new "Olympic" section.
From Brixen to Rio Pusteria in just 9 minutes instead of 26. The Val di Riga Variant, with its new 3.8-kilometre single-track reinforced by GCF for Icm, which was contracted for the work by RFI, will enable passengers to gain 17 minutes and avoid train changes on the section from Bolzano to Val Pusteria.
The work worth 138 million also financed with Pnrr's funds is included among the projects planned as part of the Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympics. It will directly connect the San Candido-Fortezza line to the Verona-Brenner route with a new section between Rio Pusteria and Brixen. Significant reduction in time: those who want to reach San Candido from Brixen will be able to avoid going as far as Fortezza and make the train change to San-Candido.
Judged strategic since 2015 and subjected to stringent Feasibility Studies (2016) commissioned by the STA (South Tyrol Transportation Facilities) and in-depth Preliminary Project (2017 - 2019) examining the different alternatives considered, the Variant saw the final design approved last December and, at the end of May, the tender was awarded to Icm.
GCF - Generale Costruzioni Ferroviarie will be responsible for carrying out the work on the railway track, electric traction, electrical substations, yard signalling, telecommunications and technological installations.
The route of the Val di Riga Variant
The route of the 3.8-km-long Val di Riga variant includes a detachment from the historic Verona - Brenner line (progressive km 193+621.728) with a widening of the railway section north of the Varna settlement and continuation, parallel to it, for a stretch of about 700 m.
Then, after deviating to the right, it underpasses the A22 Brenner freeway and the SS No. 12 in a tunnel (the so-called "Olympia tunnel" 796 m long, formed by a natural and three artificial sections) and overpasses the valley of the Isarco River on a new arched bridge 70 m high over the riverbed and 176 m long.
Poi, dopo aver deviato a destra, sottopassa l’autostrada del Brennero A22 e la SS n. 12 in galleria (la cosiddetta “galleria Olimpia”, lunga 796 mt. formata da un tratto naturale e tre artificiali) e sovrappassa la valle del fiume Isarco su un nuovo ponte ad arco alto 70 mt rispetto l’alveo del fiume e lungo 176 mt.
Leaving the bridge, the variant continues north flanking the Val Pusteria state highway (SS No. 49) for about 1300 m to the junction with the historic Fortezza - San Candido line where a tunnel is planned leading to the new Naz-Sciaves stop, mirroring the new stop at the start of the variant, planned at Varna.
With regard to the railway armouring, the typological configuration adopted is that of the traditional trackage on ballast with a gauge of 1435 mm, in current use in Ferrovie dello Stato. The railway infrastructure will be composed of elementary components "in the FS catalogue": first-class ballast will make up the screed with a thickness of no less than 0.35 mt; the 60E1 profile rails made of R260-quality steel and 108 mt in length will rest on RFI-240 type pre-stressed concrete monobloc sleepers complete with 1st and 2nd level couplings approved by RFI.
Powering of the variant will be provided by two Electric Traction (ET) Cabins built from scratch at the interconnection of the variant with the Verona-Brenner line (in Varna) and with the San-Candido-Fortezza line (at Naz-Sciaves), respectively.
The Overhead Contact Line, of the "catenary" type with suspensions on horizontal aluminium brackets in the uncovered sections, will have sections varying from 540 sq. mm (Varna junction), to 220 sq. mm (Sciaves Movement Post priority track).
The enhanced train frequency - every 15 minutes between Bolzano and Brenner and every 30 minutes between Bolzano and Val Pusteria - as well as the two new stops in Varna and Naz-Sciaves will promote better access to rail services, improving their regularity as well as travel time.
For the completion of the works, Paola Firmi, Deputy Director General Development and Standards of RFI, has been appointed as Extraordinary Government Commissioner.