Saturday I was very brave and I had decided to take the train and go all the way to Turin from Ancona and back using the amazing trains run by Trenitalia. The Wind Operations Worldwide was having the annual meeting. Good news were announced for the Kitegen project, especially the drawing to a close for the first industrial prototype.
The meeting was starting at 13:30, in Turin so I’ve decided to catch the train from Falconara Marittima @7:50. This train was supposed to arrive @Bologna at 10:37 and then I had to catch the super fast “Alta Velocità” High speed train at 10:53.
A sad 10 appeared under the delay column in the screen. This delay was really strange because the line was free, others trains from Ancona were arriving on time and the train was supposed to start from a very close station, just 10 Km away.
At the end the train show up with at least 40min of delay. When I’ve asked on the train what was the cause of the delay the answer was a laconic – “there was a problem with the safety check on the locomotive engine, so it has to be detached and reattached. That took a bit of time.” When I’ve pointed out it that I was risking to loose the coincidence to Turin the ticket collector said he was unable to do anything.
I arrived in Bologna after the other train departed, there were not High Speed train to Turin anymore and the only thing left was to change the ticket for a High Speed train to Milan (which arrived delayed as well) and then to take a low speed train from Milan to Turin, which took 1 hour and 55 min.
I’ve arrived in Turin at 15:27 and I was able to reach the meeting only around 16:00.
For the return I was taking the “Intercity Notte” from 21:05 from Turin, which was scheduled to arrive in Ancona at 2:59. This train is one of the long distance train which connects the country from North to South. Turns out that our carriage, number 6, had a problem with the heating. The indoor temperature was very close to the outdoor, which was 0° C. We were freezing. Badly.
In my compartment there was one child, and there were other children on the same carriage. People were travelling even further than me, all the way south to Lecce, where the train was supposed to arrive around 10 o’clock in the morning.
The ticket controller said he was unable to do anything for us. The train was completely full, also the carriage 11 was experiencing the same problem, and there was no possibility to change the seats. The only thing they were able to do was to give us some blankets at Bologna station, after 4 hours trip. As you can understand, some light blankets didn’t really change the situation. More over there were not enough blankets for all the passengers.
Finally I’ve arrived around 3 o’clock at Ancona station, completely frozen.
Was it bad luck? Was just a set of circumstances, impossible to predict? I don’t think so. The problems I and the other passengers have encountered were not related to the heavy snow, or the bad weather conditions or any other kind of exceptional situation. Last year it took me 26 hours to get back, everything completely blocked due to the heavy snow. That was something you have to accept and deal with it. This I think was a different case.
My guess is that these problems were completely avoidable with a regular maintenance, which has been shrunk badly. This is not an isolated case. Speaking with regular passengers of the long distance train they said: “you freeze in winter and you sweat in summer. No way out.”
I’ve filled the form to ask the reimbursement . At least I want my money back for a not existing service, the High Speed to Turin, and the money back for the freezing conditions which I had to deal for the return trip.