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End of the line for the Tende railway?

May 21, 2013
New tunnels crossing the Alps are feverishly being built elsewhere, but the Tende line between Turin and Nice is due to be closed. People on both sides of the border are protesting, however. Can this historic railway line still be saved?
Image caption:
Breil-sur-Roya station, France: no-one knows for how much longer the Tende line might run. © Markus Schweiss
Since 1970 the fate of the international Tende railway line has been in Italian hands. At that time Italy and France signed an agreement that the region of Piedmont would take sole responsibility for all maintenance costs of the line. The region can no longer afford this: it is therefore planning to close the route.
With 81 tunnels and a difference in altitude of 1,000 metres over its course, the Tende line, opened in 1928, is a masterpiece of engineering. The old viaducts as well as the frequent destruction of the tracks by landslides in this geologically volatile area mean that the maintenance costs are extremely high. Some journeys and stops have already been closed. The planned closure prompted joint Italian-French protests in Turin at the end of April. Supporters demanded that the 1970 convention be revised, with the line being saved through a cost-sharing arrangement for both Countries.
Source and further information: www.targatocn.it/2013/04/03/leggi-notizia (it), www.regione.piemonte.it/notizie (it)