Tuscany 2013 - 5: Firenze - Cinque Terre (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous trip report::
Tuscany 2013 - 4: Without Electric Traction across the Apennines (50 p.)

Itinerary for this part:
Mon, April 15 2013

Firenze SMN dep 18:53  23371 -> Pontremoli PP

Signa arr 19:11 

Tue, April 16 2013

Signa dep 4:48  11703 -> Livorno C PP

Pisa Centrale arr 5:52
Pisa Centrale dep 6:30  11838 PP

La Spezia C arr 7:40
La Spezia C dep 8:12  24486 -> Sestri Levante PP

Monterosso arr 8:35

Railway map of Tuscany:

April 15 2013

We are back in Florence on Monday evening, you can see the DMU that just had returned me from the Faentina and which would leave again at 18:40 as R 21481 to Borgo San Lorenzo.

Santa Maria Novella in pretty light, D445 1091 to the right pulled R 11995 to Borgo San Lorenzo via Pontassieve that evening.

After procuring some supplies I arrived early enough at my hotel in Signa to rest for the upcoming full day.

April 16 2013

The first of two times that week I took the earliest departure from Signa, getting up shortly after 4 a.m.. I felt a slight cold creeping on, so I took some medication before catching the early train. The long push-pull rake proved to be quite draughty despite all windows being closed, so I snuggled up in a forward facing corner of a compartment and dozed for another hour until reaching Pisa Centrale.

There I was greeted in style by Sicilian night train ICN 784 Siracusa - Milano Centrale which had arrived punctually.

However, at departure time the starter signal was not set, the crew of E402B 107 gathered rather cluelessly on the platform. This provided me with the opportunity to catch a container train hauled by a class 652.

My R 11838 to La Spezia was already standing at the platform half an hour before departure, so I did not linger outside in the cold and only bought a prawn sandwich at a food dispenser. The driving van trailer featured AC and was heated, the rest of the train with windows to open turned out to be quite cool. So, I took a seat inside the first car and always changed to the neighbouring coach when taking pictures - and there were a lot of pictures to take!

No clouds had been forecast for the whole week, but along the coast on some days morning fog was forming - this provided excellent moods, here while crossing Arno river in Pisa city centre close to its estuary mouth.

Right next to it we passed Torre Guelfa della Cittadella Vecchia, part of historic Pisa town fortifications.

We immersed sometimes more, sometimes less into the fog.

With Tuscany-ad... ;-)

Clearing in a wonderful pine tree forest.

At Viareggio we found ourselves completely in dense fog.

Surreal moods.

Marble processing at Forte dei Marmi, bigger blocks followed at Carrara.

Shortly later we crossed R 11839.

Now I planned to capture Eurostar 9761 Genova - Roma near Massa, I managed to do it, yet the pretty class ETR 460 Pendolino EMU as "Frecciabianca" sadly passed at an unphotogenic spot between tall reeds...
But I remembered that I already had been here almost exactly ten years before on a round trip with friends. The following photos were the only ones I had taken on that journey outside large terminals, of course still using the trusty old Olympus Camedia C3000Z compact digital camera purchased in 2000:

July 26 2003

In the morning I walked from my hotel up to Massa Centro station, even in mid summer some mist was forming between the beautiful mountain range and the marshland along the coast.

Immediately after reaching the station E656 008 rushed past with a night train towards Genoa.

For local traffic wonderful electric oldtimers still were in service, here E646 146.

Meeting with IC 534 "Donatello", hauled by E444R 055, stopping at 7:19 a.m..

Pendolino ETR460 23 was leaning nicely into the curve entering the station.

Eurostar 9305 was scheduled about 15 minutes behind today's 9761 and featured a scheduled halt in Massa at 7:26 a.m..

Freight traffic was captured as well, here with nostalgic E645 087.

Yet the highlight definitely consisted of E656 303 in old livery hauling 11 car transporters (just loaded on the lower tier) and 6 night train coaches.

And finally E656 458 in new livery.

April 16 2013

After this digression we return to today, I finally rested inside the driving van trailer for the remainder of the journey. Upon arrival at La Spezia we passed the freight terminal where a class E655 in old livery could be spotted.

Before continuing to Cinque Terre a little time was left for photography in this beautiful morning light. I checked my train - oh yes, departure at 8:12, the same platform!

Platform scene with balcony photography, light version. ;-)

R 11239 arrived punctually from Cinque Terre.

IC 504 Livorno - Turin hauled by E444R 026 on the other hand showed up with six minutes delay.

These flower sellers showed up exactly at the perfect moment.




D245 2008 approached to shunt the regional train rake as a whole including leading class E464.

I waited at the end of the platform for "Frecciabianca" ES 9763 as I would not have far to catch my next connection. I already looked forward to a class ETR460 in the nice curve, when... oh well, former EuroStarCity trains also were operating "Frecciabianca" services. This push-pull rake was powered by a class E402B.

I leisurely walked down the platform to get on my train - just a moment, destination Parma, something could not be correct? I quickly ran into the pedestrian subway and looked at a departure plan - really, two services were scheduled to leave at 8:12! To catch R 24486 towards Sestri Levante I swiftly had to relocate to platform 1 north... I made it in time without problems - only the northern half of platform 1 was indicated by that description - , the train was much fuller than the previous one, featuring a mixture of tourist and local travellers. During the ride I read the newspaper of the gentleman sitting opposite me and learnt about the Boston attack. But now beautiful things in life were waiting, a day full of magnificent landscapes!
At Monterosso I quickly had to walk out of the station and took the road west of the station leading uphill through a new part of village called Fegina.

But first I stopped shortly for this initial wonderful view at Cinque Terre, slowly the last wafts of mist lifted from the valleys.

I had to wander through several serpentines where drivers were always sounding their horns to warn oncoming cars in the emerging morning traffic.

The first surreal view with a short glimpse of the railway in the centre - obviously this boat had to be saved from possible tsunamis that far up the mountainside...

Olive trees along the road already had been prepared for harvest.

The small road I had looked for branched off towards San Cristoforo hill on which a Capuchin abbey had been erected. The railway can also be spotted on a bridge through the historic village centre at the lower lefthand side.


An overview of the landscape above Monterosso, the railway tunnel entrance can be seen to the right.

I located the spot I had found on the internet close to the parking lot above the abbey, road works were carried out in the vicinity. A tourist couple arrived in their vehicle as I waited for R 2043 Torino - La Spezia which proved to be about 15 minutes delayed. But waiting paid off!


The dream panorama of Monterosso station.



I sprinted towards the abbey and caught the regional train one more time from behind, this picture will be shown in the next trip report. I discovered steps leading up from the village - of course this would have been a much shorter route on foot from the station, however, I would never have found those other lovely viewpoints otherwise.

That certainly must be one of the ultimate railway enthusiast spots in the world! :)

Impressions walking down the steps through narrow streets into the old village centre.


R 2296 to Genova crossed the beachside viaduct.

Slowly the tourism motor started running - I was about to be shocked later on...

But of course we will also feature a full load of Cinque Terre next time - it is only properly commencing now, see you then! :)

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