State-run Trenitalia has announced Europe’s first COVID-free, high-speed Fresciarossa train service on its non-stop route between Rome and Milan, the busiest train route in Italy.
Last Friday (April 16th), these trains began operating on an experimental basis, twice a day in each direction. If successful, the company hopes to expand the COVID-free service to other routes.
Italian media reports that although no definite plans are yet in place, Gianfranco Battisti, managing director of the FS Group that oversees the train line, has said that train stations in Florence, Venice and Naples, among others, might have similar testing centers.
To board the trains, passengers are required to arrive at least 45 minutes before departure with a certification of negative PRC/Molecular or antigen nasal swab test results taken within 48 hours of departure.
Alternatively, subject to availability, passengers get a nasal swab test on-site in tents set up by the Italy Red Cross at the Roma Termini and Milano Centrale stations. To get tested, passengers need to have a ticket for a COVID-free train in hand but are able to get a full refund if they test positive.
Once on the train, masks are required, and Trenitalia uses a “checkerboard” seating arrangement with a maximum seating capacity of 50 percent.
Should travel rebound in late spring or summer, this could be an attractive option for tourists who want to travel between different cities in Italy.