On October 3, 2018 the 179th anniversary of the birth of the first Italian railway line is celebrated
Some events remain indelible in history as they have determined the beginning of a new era. One of these is the one that took place on October 3, 1839 near the city of Naples. This was the inauguration of the Naples-Portici railway which was the first to be built in Italy. Italian Traditions will guide you on the discovery of this event. We will also explain the project and the locomotives used. Finally we will talk about its implementation and influence on the development of Neapolitan railway production.
The railway that connected the cities of Naples and Portici was the first in Italy. Its inauguration took place on October 3, 1839. One of its most interesting features concerns the fact that it had a double track and had a total length of 7.2 kilometers.
Work began in June 1836 when the construction of the railway line was granted to Armando Giuseppe Bayard de la Vingtrie. Three years later it was inaugurated with a train departing from the Portici station. The event was attended by King Ferdinand II Borbone who boarded the train departing from the station of Portici at 10 am on October 3, 1839. The journey was completed in the time of 9 minutes.
The line was part of a much larger project that included other lines that were inaugurated in the following years from 1842 to 1846. Over the years this historical line was subjected to a lot of damage. The Naples Bayard station remained operational until 1866 when it was downgraded to a service facility after the opening of the city’s central station.
The project and the locomotives used
Credits: Napoli Turistica
The project that led to the inauguration of the Naples-Portici railway was carried out by a foreign company. In fact, both those who carried out the project and the necessary funds came from France. While the locomotives used were of English construction. Instead, as far as the material used for the rails was concerned, it was produced locally. They consisted of modules of 5 meters each and were in wrought iron.
The first locomotive used was called with the name of Vesuvius. Its total weight was 3 tons and could reach a maximum speed of 50 kilometers per hour. It also towed seven other carriages whose weight was 46 tons. In 1939, during the centenary anniversary, the inaugural convoy was rebuilt.
Credits: Neapolitans – BOOBBLY
One of the most positive influences of the inauguration of the Naples-Portici railway was the conversion of the whole territory to railway production. In 1842 a large plant was built in Pietrarsa dedicated to the construction of locomotives and the assembly of rails. Soon these workshops became an example of the use of cutting-edge processes and technologies. From the beginning of its activity to 1905, over 300 locomotives, a hundred carriages and a thousand freight cars were built in these places.
The development of rail transport has made it possible to significantly improve travel between one city and another. This is particularly so regarding goods. If you want to know about other historical events, significant for Italy we recommend reading this article too. You will discover other important events that, like the inauguration of the Naples-Portici railway, have marked the history of the country.