Asti-Alba restarts thanks to hydrogen trains


As early as last year, hydrogen experimentation was presented as the possible turning point for reactivating the Asti-Alba railway, which was suspended in 2010 due to structural problems at the Ghersi tunnel and elsewhere along the route.

Last week the region announced the inclusion of Piedmont among the five Italian regions that will experiment with the use of green hydrogen: from its production, through the reconversion of 28 disused industrial areas in the territory (including four in the province of Cuneo), to its use in road and rail transport, thanks to 70million euros expected from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. In addition to these, the allocation of another 80million euros by the Region itself has already been announced, through European resources from the European Regional Development Fund.

It is a propitious moment that could change the fate of the Asti-Alba, the Unesco hills railway: just yesterday, the Italian railway network announced the go-ahead for the reactivation of the section in a tight timeframe, thanks to the use of hydrogen. In recent months, among other things, the Rfi Foundation has allowed the return of historic trains, a sign that the structural problems at the Ghersi tunnel are not insurmountable, with more limited train traffic and the right rail infrastructure. This was also reiterated by Governor Alberto Cirio, during the mid-term meeting of the Alba administration, when he had spoken of excellent prospects for the railway in this regard.

Details will be spelled out this afternoon, June 15, during a meeting scheduled at Alba station at 2 p.m. Top officials from the Piedmont Region and Trenitalia will attend. The hope is that this will be the real turning point for a route that used to allow about 2,000 people to travel each day during the week. A figure that would certainly be much higher today: from the increased links between Asti and Alba, just think of the courthouse, to the exponential increase in tourist flows between Langhe, Roero and Monferrato.

Translated with (free version)

Nedim Husomanovic

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