White Van Trains on the Adriatic

The White Van Trains – November 2013
No one knows where the white van trains go. Someone must know. Mr Marchionne knows; or not him: his lieutenants. They know. But we don’t.
South of Pedaso, 16 July 2012.
We know where the engines that pull the white van trains go. The engines that pull the wagons loaded with white vans, and pull the empty flat cars back, they don’t go all the way where the white vans go, we know about that because rail enthusiasts can read details about the engines in the rail enthusiast magazines, that’s how we know about them, by getting the snippets passed on.
South of Pedaso, 16 July 2012.
Some engines go to Alessandria and one, on Monday mornings, even goes as far as Ambérieu-en-Bugey, north-east of Lyon. There’s a big railway marshalling yard at Ambérieu-en-Bugey.
Porto san Giorgio, 22 September 2011.
Right, so the vans, they are carried as far as Bologna, we know that for they cannot really go anywhere else. Bologna san Donato, just beyond Bologna Centrale, there are marshalling yards and some of the trains get a different engine there. The one on Monday morning though, whose engine goes right through to France, that has a change of driver at Voghera, because the company that runs that train, Captrain Italia, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNCF, does not have the authority to run beyond Bologna, so they have to get a driver who works for Compagnia Ferrovia Italia for the stretch down to the Val de Sangro.
San Benedetto del Tronto, 11 September 2013. San Benedetto del Tronto island platform gets a bit turbulent when the white van trains pass. Attenzione. Treno in transito al binario due. Allontarsi dalla linea gialla. Good idea.
I get all this information from Today’s Railways Europe, Marco Cacozza is their Italy correspondent. He talks about the companies that run the white van trains, and about which engines are used, but he does not say where the white vans go. Because railway enthusiasts aren’t interested in that sort of thing. No idea why not.
We know where the white vans come from, they come from the Sevel factory at Atessa Val Di Sangro, south of Pescara where, since 2006, are made Fiat Ducato, Peugeot Boxer, Citroën Jumper vans. Not all painted white, though most are.
The vans are then taken by rail north along the Adriatic, past Rimini then to Bologna, then they continue to Piacenza, then Alessandria, Asti, Torino then up the hill to Bardonecchia and through the Fréjus tunnel into France at Modane. Then they travel up past Chambéry and Aix-les-Bains to Ambérieu-en-Bugey. Then what? They vanish from our researches. The info might be available on Google, but then again, like so much of interest to the world . . .
Civitanova Marche on 22 September 2011.
There are more thoughts about this, including the potential of the white van trains for people who wish to cross borders clandestinely, on Flickr.


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