New rail link between Bari’s airport in southern Italy and the city centre
The city of Bari in the southern Italian region of Puglia has a new rail connection between its Karol Wojtyła airport and the central railway station. Co-financed by the EU, the railway also improves links with other urban centres within the Bari metropolitan area.
" Following its designation by the Region of Puglia, the Ferrotramviaria railway company took on the role of project supervisor for the completion of the railway link connecting Bari’s Karol Wojtyła international airport to the infrastructure of the Bari region’s northern railways, both in the direction of Bari and towards Bitonto. The subsidiary Ferrotramviaria Engineering oversaw the design phase and the construction of the new 7 km, double-track railway, which began in May 2009. The airport is easily accessible by train from Bari and all cities served by Ferrotramviaria, allowing Karol Wojtyła airport to become an aviation hub for the whole of the south of Italy. "
Approximately 7.7 km of double-track railway, much of it running through tunnels, were laid under the project and two new stations – Aeroporto and Europa – were built. The track branches off from the existing line between Bari and the city of Barletta.
Other elements of the works included the supply and installation of signalling, electric traction, remote control, automatic locking, telephony, public information and telecommunications systems.
The project accelerated the implementation of an efficient, integrated, flexible, safe and sustainable transport system, which should help to ensure provision of the services necessary for the region’s future development. Construction work, which began in 2009 and ended in 2013, caused minimal disturbance.
A fast, reliable and good-value service
The main objective of the work was to provide a fast, reliable and good-value train service between the airport and Bari city centre, as well as with the towns and cities to the north of Bari via the Bari-Barletta railway. Forming part of the Scandinavian-Mediterranean corridor within the comprehensive Trans-European Transport Network, the railway also strengthens intermodal transport links with centres elsewhere within the metropolitan area and far beyond.
Furthermore, the line benefits users of a number of installations located in the vicinity, amongst which are an air force base and the local headquarters of the Guardia di Finanza, the law enforcement agency of the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance. Other facilities served by the railway include the new building complex under construction as part of the San Paolo-Lama Balice urban regeneration programme, the Lama Balice urban nature park and the Eurocampus training centre.
Environmental and economic benefits
By improving rail connections with Puglia’s main airport and enhancing the quality of railway services in the region, the line supports the modal shift from road to rail, with positive knock-on effects for the environment. As well as benefiting local residents, the improved transport links increase Puglia’s accessibility for both tourists and people visiting for work, thereby supporting economic development and reinforcing Karol Wojtyla airport’s position as one of the main regional transport hubs.
A total of 400 jobs were created during the construction phase and a further 27 once the line became operational. At the end of 2015, trains were running on the line every 35 minutes on average, with 41 trains going in each direction on weekdays, 66 on Saturdays and 46 on Sundays. In addition, journey times between Bari central station and the airport had been reduced by 14 minutes.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “Bari-Palese Airport rail link with the metropolitan area of Bari” is EUR 92 466 968, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 27 890 200 through the “Puglia” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.