From the Archive: The End of the Laziali to Pantano Interurban – A Visit to Roma

We first published this post in 2008 in a now discontinued blog about the Milano trams when the line was shortened to Giardinetti. In 2015 the line was further shortened to the depot at Centocelle. Recently it was announced that the line will be converted to 1435mm gauge starting in 2023 (all the way back to the 2008 Giardinetti terminus) and later extended beyond Giardinetti away from the old railway to Tor Vergata. New rolling stock will need to be ordered (22 light rail vehicles). The date for the end of service has not been announced yet but it will happen sometime in 2023 – so if you have never been on this line you need to go there very soon! When it re-opens the line will be called tram line G. We have a number of archived posts like this but the photos were lost when we discontinued the old blog – the text portions survive and we still have the original photos (but they need to be re-uploaded). More posts might follow.

Here is our 2008 post (map and logos added and all no-longer working links to external sources removed):

831 at piazza di porta Maggiore on its way to staz. Laziali

This is our first posting about a non-Milano subject. The 950mm interurban tram from Roma Laziali to Pantano was cut-back to the city limts late night on July 4th 2008. The last day of operation on the outer section was to have been on Sunday (July 6th) but as they had to rebuild the new terminus at Giardinetti no trains operated beyond Centocelle from Saturday morning. A new station replaces the interim platform here. From Terranova to Pantano the old interurban tramway had been rebuilt to metro standard over the last few years (the stations feature a high loading platform which has been roped off for passengers and a low loading platform area for the trams. No doubt with the recent closure these platforms will now all be rebuilt to high platform only configuration. The Pantano line beyond Giardinetti is now operated by bus replacement until the metro opens in a few years time. The frequency on the surving section has been much increased and trams now run every 4-7 minutes. Hopefully this portion will survive and there is even talk about re-gaugeing it to allow integration into the city tram network in the future. It certainly is very busy.

Map opf the original STEFER railway to Frosinone (it started as SVF and morphed gradually into an interurban railway using tramway like vehicles, though it has up to this date always been classified as a railway, not a tramway).

This is what wikipedia has to say about the history (text slightly modified):

  • In March 1907 the Superior Council of Public Works gave favourable opinion (mandatory advice of Government Committee) to build the line designed by Antonio Clementi. Works were started in 1913 by the “Società per le Ferrovie Vicinali” (SFV). The first section of the railway was opened for service on June 12th 1916 from Roma to San Cesareo and Genazzano together with the branch line from San Cesareo to Frascati.
  • In Roma the “SFV Station” was built on the Esquiline Hill side ofthe Roma Termini station. The service was first and third class, with four daily trains. On May 6th 1916 the branch line from Genazzano to Fiuggi was opened for service. From Roma to Fiuggi the trip-time was two hours and 45 minutes with a train departure every half hour. Other branch lines were opened for service on July 14th 1917: Fiuggi to Alatri-Frosinone and Fiuggi to Vico nel Lazio-Guarcino. In 1943/1944 the Roma-Fiuggi railway was partly destroyed by Allied bombing. In 1945 the line was opened again for service. In 1982 the branch line Genazzano-Fiuggi was closed, followed in 1983 by the line Pantano-Genazzano.

The line is now operated by and they call it the Ferrovia Roma-Pantano. I wonder if they have to change the name. With the cut-back to the city limits the line now operates within Roma alone. The depot is located at Centocelle. New metro line C is being built right now and the eastern end of it will take over the outer end of the Pantano line. Despite the railway title the line is really an interurban tram – like the Desio and Limbiate lines in Milano it features little street running and the rolling stock is a mix of light railway and tramway stock.

The older rolling stock has been modernised heavily in the late 1950s to mid 1960s and as of 2006 consists of:

2 motor cars from the 1920s: 01 to 03
3 motor cars built by Ansaldo Breda in 1989: 820 – 822 – 823
5 motor cars from the 1920s: 103 – 104 – 105 – 106 – 110 plus trailers
6 motor cars built by Firema in 1999: 831 to 836
8 motor cars from the 1920s: 420 – 421 – 422 – 423 – 424 – 425 – 426 – 428 plus trailers

The 1920s cars usually run in pairs of 2 (01-03, 1xx) as motor + control trailer sets. The 4xx cars run in pairs of 3 cars with the motor car in the middle between two control trailers. The trailers have their own fleet numbers but a new feature seems to be the numbering of all sets in the 0x/1xx/4xx series (i.e. even the trailers carry the fleet number of the motor car). This is what we saw in July:

01 = 121+01+054
103 = 085+103+107
106 = 104+106+082
110 = 109+110 in old blue livery
420 = 064+420+062
421 = 063+421+056
423 = 060+423+061 in old blue livery
424 = 068+424+071
425 = 066+425+069
428 = 052+428+065

not seen (in depot)

02 = 123+02+58
03 = 122+03
105 = 101+105+084
422 = 057+422+051
426 = 059+426+067
429 = 050+429+055

Here are some photos of the last day of operation of the outer section (photos not easy to take as the security people did not like it – as on all metro system in Italy photography is not allowed without a permit and the outer section has metro statiions. No such problems on the tramway section…) and some pics of the service on the following two days.

Pics taken July 4th 2008 at Pantano:

control trailer 069 (with 425 and 066) about to reverse
unidentified 4xx set leaving the station for Roma Laziali
“set” 01 reversing at the end of the viaduct (control trailer 054 at the front)
“set” 01 with control trailer 121 at the back heading towards Roma
834 heading towards the reversing siding
822 heading towards the reversing siding
834 entering station from reversing siding

822 awaiting return trip to staz. Laziali
822 heading towards Roma passing the high platform loading area
825 leaving the reversing siding

Pics taken July 4th 2008 at Grotte Celoni:

“set” 423 with control trailer 061 at the back heading towards Pantano
833 entering the station from Pantano
833 heading towards Roma Laziali

Pics taken July 4th 2008 at Finocchio and S. Antonio:

832 heading toward Roma. Finocchio is the only underground station on the already built metro section.
“set” 106 with control trailer (or is it a motor car as well?!) at the front heading towards Roma
“set” 424 with control trailer 071 at the front at S. Antonio heading towards Roma. This station (one east of Giardinetti) is the only stop on the abandonded stretch that will be replaced by a new underground station still to be built.

The rest of the pics were taken in July 5th and 6th on the surviving line:

“set” 01 with control trailer 054 leading approaching Giardinetti from Pantano
motor car 421 at Centocelle
control trailer 082 (“set” 106) inside Deposito Centocello
“set” 423 with control trailer 060 leading at Ponte Casilino heading towards the temporary terminus at Centocelle
“set” 423 with control trailer 061 at the back at piazza di porta Maggiore heading towards Centocelle
“set” 425 at piazzale Labicano (Porta Maggiore)
motor car 110 (“set” 110) at Roma Laziali terminus
how much longer will Pantano be shown on the destination?
a surprise find at a camping site near Centocelle (one station west of it): Routemaster RM1176 from London

stop press: Met.Ro has renamed the line to “ferrovia regionale Roma-Giardinetti”


A short companion post appeared with the original 2008 post reproduced above (and added below):

Trolleybus 8515 (line 90) at the outer terminus at largo Labia.

When we visited the Roma – Pantano interurban earlier this month we did also spend some time riding the other tram lines in Roma. I must say, I’m still a little confused about the ownership of the trams and buses. Yes, the Pantano line, the metro and the other non-state railway (FS or TrenItalia as they call themselves these days) electric railways (Roma – Viterbo and Roma – Lido) are owned and operated by Metropolitana di Roma s.p.a. using the Met.Ro name (this company was of course called Cotral until a few years ago, and before that ACoTral when they absorbed the old STEFER network lines).

ATAC has been the tram and bus operator in the city of Roma for as long as I can remember. Only now, ATAC is rather more like a transit authority responsible for timetables and tickets etc. The buses and trams have been moved to a new company called Trambus S.p.A.

I only witnessed this new name on a service van seen at Grotte Celoni and the articulated restaurant tram carried this name (but it also said ATAC underneath). The buses (all the new ones seem to be in silver with a red stripe, the previous deliveries are all two-tone green like most of the trams – few trams in orange survive and only some buses with the “alibi” orange stripe on the front) and trams only have stickers for ATAC.

I assume that ATAC is the holding company of Trambus and they also seem to have taken over Met.Ro (their fairly new Met.Ro logo is already being replaced by a new red logo (I call it “half an arrow”) which can be seen on all three websites mentioned above and many of the new silver buses plus some of the Pantano line cars). Maybe we will see the new name on the trams and buses eventually. Enough of the confusion – let’s have some tram pics (all taken on July 5th or 6th, 2008)…

Restaurant car 7021 at piazzale di Porta Maggiore.

Historic MRS car 2137 with the rest of the birthday party (same location).

7013 (line 5) at piazza dei Gerani terminus.

9107 is pulling out onto line 8 and was caught in via Porta Maggiore/piazzale di Porta Maggiore.

9247 on line 8 approaching the terminus at Circonvallazione Gianicolense/via del Casaletto.

9001 at the line 3 terminal loop in piazza Thorwaldsen. During the week this line is all bus (weekends see trams from here to piazzale di Porta Maggiore – the rest of the line is always bus operated at this time because of metro works). The following image shows such a replacement bus.

4353 on tram line 3 (replacement service) at P.ta Maggiore

We had no time for the Roma – Lido railway (nor the Metro where photography is strictly forbidden) but a few minutes were spent at the Roma Flaminio terminus of the Met.Ro Roma – Viterbo railway (Roma Nord). One can only take photos here when no security people are visible. This is EMU 110 (leading car 109).