For the first time in history, a private operator is running on Italian railways. Arenaways began service on November 15 with a non-stop Turin-Milan train.
After one week of service, Arenaways has carried more than 200 passengers, a number that delights the railway's managers during this start-up phase. The bright red and yellow trains are currently composed of two carriages, each with 82 seats. Arenaways, based in Alessandria, hopes to service more cities in northern Italy in 2011.
The conductor of the first voyage, Laura Scognamillo, 26, said that the starting whistle was an exciting moment for all aboard. Among the passengers was Arenaways CEO Giuseppe Arena. ‘It's a historic day because for the first time on the railroad tracks there is a private operator serving passengers,' Arena said. ‘We think we can win the competition through a wear-down work mentality. Right now, the passengers are few, but they will come to know us.'
Among the services offered on-board is grocery shopping. Passengers pick up a shopping card at the mini-market and snack bar on board, pay the bill and pick up the bag at their destination, much like the duty-free shopping on airplanes. Travellers can choose from a variety of products, including baked goods, pasta, meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables and desserts. ‘The idea of offering shopping onboard came to us through a survey. We found that many of the passengers are single,' related Patricia De Bernardi, coordinator of onboard services for Arenaways. ‘We also offer a laundry service: leave your dirty clothes and pick up after three days on the train or at three points in the city.'
For more information or to purchase tickets (online only), see www.arenaways.com. (j.b.)