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Grottaminarda tunnel on the Naples-Bari HS/HC railway line begins


On August 08, 2023 TBM Aurora - 100 m long, powered by 18 motors with a total power of 6.3MW - began  excavation on the Grottaminarda tunnel in the Avellino Province, on the section between Apice and Hirpinia of the new Naples - Bari HS/HC line.  

This is part of the Cantieri Parlanti project, the Gruppo FS's initiative developed in collaboration with the Infrastructure and Transport Ministry, which gives a voice to more than 30 Strategic Works throughout Italy. The aim is to give a transparent account of the activities and aims of the works by means of public initiatives, infopoints and a dedicated section of the FS Italiane website, which is continuously updated and deals with strategic works.  

The construction site of Grottaminarda tunnel 

The Grottaminarda tunnel is about 2 km long and is the first of three tunnels planned along the 18 km - 12 km of which underground – Apice/Hirpinia section of the new Naples - Bari HS/HC Line. 

The Aurora TBM with an excavation diameter of about 12.5 m will work continuously for about 5 months,  24-hour/24, 7 days a week, with a 16 m/day expected advancement. The TBM will install the lining rings composed by 9 prefabricated segments, 55 cm thick and 1.80 m long each.  

The mechanized excavation brings important advantages on the entire construction site system: it allows the excavation of the Grottaminarda and Melito tunnels in sequence starting from a single site located at the adit on the Bari side, greatly reducing the impact of the intermediate construction sites in the area. More than 100 highly specialized people are employed to ensure continuous excavation, divided into 4 teams. The works of the section have an investment of approximately EUR628 million.  

The new HS/HC Naples-Bari line project  

The new HS/HC Naples-Bari line is an integral part of Core Scandinavia - Mediterranean (Helsinki - La Valletta) Corridor n° 5 and represents the first and most advanced work that the Infrastructure Pole of the FS Group is carrying out to upgrade the railway network in the South of Italy. The new infrastructure, commissioned by RFI and for which Italferr has been encharged for the preliminary and final design, has a total investment of EUR5.8 bn, also financed under the PNRR [National Resilience and Relaunching Plan]. Its completion, by 2027, will speed up the direct transversal connection between the Tyrrhenian and the Adriatic, improving the connections of Puglia and the more internal provinces of Campania with the Milan-Rome-Naples HS/HC line.   

State of progress and benefits of the project 

Since August 2022, all the construction sites of the new HS/HC Naples-Bari line have been under construction. The activity of the Commissarial Management allowed an acceleration of the works which led to the completion, in 2017, of the first two sections: the Naples/Afragola interchange node and the Bovino-Cervaro lot. With the first phase of activation of the Cancello-Frasso Telesino, by 2024 it will be possible to create a direct connection between Naples and Bari in 2 hours and 40 minutes.   

Upon completion of the work - planned for 2027 - the Naples-Bari link will be travelled in 2 hours, compared to about 4 hours today, whilst the Rome-Bari link will take 3 hours, as a saving of about two hours compared to now.  

Click here for a video, here and it/251 for tunnelbuilder archive. Visit https://www.italferr.it/, https://www.fsitaliane.it/ and https://www.rfi.it/en.html.  32/23.