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Journey times to be slashed
Train journey times in Italy are set to be slashed next month as new high speed rail routes open.
The country's state-owned infrastructure company Ferrovie Dello Stato is finishing work on its high speed line from Turin in the north to Salermo in the south.
Tickets for the new high speed service which will include Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples, will go on sale from December 13.
The final sector of the track which has been completed is between Bologna and Florence.
It will allow state-owned operator Trenitalia to run its Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) trains at speeds of up to 360km per hour for the full length of the track for the first time.
The trains have been in service as Eurostar Italia for some time but unable to go at high speeds on parts of the track.
Trenitalia said the 1,000km line is the culmination of 25 years of work by infrastructure owner and operator Ferrovie Dello Stato during which much of the existing high speed line was brought up to modern standards.
Two different types of train, already in service, will be used on the high speed lines - the 360km per hour ETR-500 which is limited to the high speed lines only, and the brand new ETR-600 Frecciargento (Silver Arrow) which can run on both high speed and conventional lines but at slower speeds.
The non-stop Frecciarossa Rome to Milan service will now take two hours 45 minutes.
Trenitalia said the short-haul flight between the two cities takes three hours and 40 including travel to/from the airport and check-in times.
Rome to Turin, a journey of around 800km, will take just four hours and ten minutes slashing one hour 30 minutes off the current time.
Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV), Italy's first privately-owned high speed train operator, is also set to run services on the same high speed line in 2011 in direct competition with Trenitalia.
The three routes currently planned for are: Turin-Milan-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples-Salerno; Rome-Florence-Bologna-Venice; and Rome-Bari.