Domodossola Locarno Railway

Domodossola Locarno Railway

The Domodossola Locarno railway, also known as the Centovalli railway (Italian: Centovallina) is a metre-gauge railway between Domodossola, Italy, and Locarno, Switzerland. It passes through the village of Intragna and carried over 1 million passengers in 2010. It is operated by the Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi (FART) in Switzerland and the Società Subalpina di Imprese Ferroviarie S.p.A. (SSIF) in Italy.

Opened on 25 November 1923, the 52-kilometre (32 mi) long railway has 22 stations and takes approximately 2 hours to traverse the whole length. The Italian-Swiss border is crossed between the towns of Ribellasca and Camedo.

Domodossola Locarno Railway History

Following a convention signed in Rome on 12 November 1918 between the plenipotentiaries Sidney Sonnino and De Segesser, respectively, of the King of Italy and the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation Switzerland, the construction of the railway began. The railway started with an initiative mainly due to the then Mayor of Locarno Francis Dance. The builders used part of the existing meter gauge Locarno Bignasco railway at the start of the eastern end of the new line. This set the meter gauge of the whole line.

Since then the railway has regularly performed its task of connecting the communities between Locarno and Domodossola. The line continued after the period of mass motorization, when some considered the train to be obsolete.

The railway currently plays an important economic and tourist function in the area. It is the shortest and most scenic link between the major trans-Alpine railways that pass through the Simplon and Gotthard tunnels. Combined with the Simplon railway, it provides a fast connection between the Swiss Cantons of Valais and Ticino.

Domodossola–Locarno Railway 1978 Flood

On 7 August 1978, a flood struck the railway causing damage affecting almost 700 meters of track, mainly on the Italian side. Thankfully there were no injuries but reconstruction of the line lasted until the end of the year.

Domodossola–Locarno Railway Specifications
  • Gauge: 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge
  • Length: about 52.2 km (of which 32.300 is in Italian territory, 19.833 in Switzerland)
  • Voltage: 1,350 V DC
  • Electrical substations: 5 (including 3 in Switzerland)
  • Stations and stops with passing loops: 21 (13 in Italian territory, 8 in Switzerland)
  • Passengers transported annually between 1982 and 1985:
  • 1982 - 896,411
  • 1983 - 917,737
  • 1984 - 852,381
  • 1985 - 869,215
Domodossola–Locarno Railway Route

The route, like other mountain railways, has some dramatic inclines between the Masera and Santa Maria Maggiore (Italy), and between Verdasio and Intragna (Switzerland); in some places the gradient is 60 per thousand.

A trip between Domodossola and Locarno, takes slightly less than 2 hours.

The name "Centovalli" (100 valleys) derives from the existence of the many valleys along the line in which are perched small towns. The geography means that there are plenty of bridges and viaducts to admire on a journey.

Domodossola–Locarno Railway Fares & Equipment

Since at least October 2012, there is new rolling stock called the "panoramic train". When taking this train, regardless of the type of ticket held, a supplement of €1,50 or CHF2,00 per passenger is collected, in cash, on board by the conductor. The departure board mentions "supplemento" for runs on the panoramic train. The supplement is not collected on other trains on the route.

Although it is an Italian train, the Centovalli fare (but not the supplement) is included in the scope of the various Swiss Rail flat rate and discount passes, as are journeys from Domodossola. The Swiss portion of the line is managed by Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi. On the Swiss side, directional signs and employees prominently display the company's acronym, FART.

Domodossola–Locarno Railway Overview

Domodossola–Locarno Railway Status:                     Operational
Domodossola–Locarno Railway Local:                       Centovalli
Domodossola–Locarno Railway Terminus Stations:   Domodossola
Domodossola–Locarno Railway Stations:                   22
Domodossola–Locarno Railway Operation Opened:  1923
Domodossola–Locarno Railway Operator(s):             FART & SSIF
Domodossola–Locarno Railway Line length:              52.1 kilometres (32.37 mi)
Domodossola–Locarno Railway Number of Tracks:   1 main track with
                                                                                    dual track at certain stations.
Domodossola–Locarno Railway Track Gauge:           1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge
Domodossola–Locarno Railway Electrification:          1350 V DC

Domodossola–Locarno Railway Route









Santa Maria Maggiore



Ribellasca - Italy

Swiss-Italian Border

Camedo - Switzerland








Ponte Brolla


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