Bicycle routesTrain+BikeTrain+Bike in Italy
Train+Bike: the ETR-600/610
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The ETR–600, manufactured by Alstom, is the latest introduction of Italian high speed trains. Within the Italian train system they usually are referred to as Frecciargento [silver arrows] with red stripes, but that don’t provide a means for transporting a bike, unless it is disassembled and placed in a bike bag.

However, the ETR-600 is also used, although with the initials ETR-610, by the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) which has the better habit of providing spaces for bicycles on almost all their trains. As such the ETR-610 trains used on the Milano-Basel line and on the Venice-Geneva line provide two spaces for bicycles on two of the middle cars.

The cars that have spaces for bikes are easy to identify by means of a bicycle icon posted next to the doors. As mentioned above, they usually are located in the middle cars of the train.

Here is a curious aspect that speaks volumes about the limited commitment of Trenitalia regarding bike transport: some of the trains on these two lines are in fact put into service by Trenitalia and, just as their Swiss counterparts, they have places for bikes. It almost seems that Trenitalia is oblivious that they provide that service and simply have forgotten to post the bicycle icon, present on the SBB cars.

Even more absurd, outright comical: every attempt to purchase and reserve a place for a bicycle departing from Italy ends in failure, the same whether trying the ticket machines or in person. When I traveled from Milan to Basel during August 2010, I had been told I could purchase the ticket for my bike only on the train; but the train personnel, after considerable consultation, determined that was not the case and that the ticket I had already purchased was sufficient as is. In the end I took my bike all the way from Milan to Basel for free!

That brings up the question: “why doesn’t Trenitalia provide a similar service on the Frecciargento that run, among others, on the Venice-Rome line?” It wouldn’t cost much, just a few hooks, and perhaps a few logistical problems sharing space with the variety of luggage that is stored in this compartment; but in all my travels to and from Switzerland I have never encountered serious problems. Once again Trenitalia has missed a good opportunity.


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