On Friday 2 October 2009, Italian Railways celebrated the 170th anniversary of the opening of the first railway line in Italy, between Naples and Portici. It was both a solemn and festive ceremony, held at the National Railway Museum in Petrarsa near Naples, arguably the largest railway museum in Europe, in the presence of many guests from the worlds of politics, business and the railways in Italy and beyond.
Among the Italian personalities invited by Mauro Moretti, Chief Executive of the Ferrovie dello Stato Group (FS), and Innocenzo Cipolletta, its Chairman, Gianni Letta, Undersecretary of State to the Presidency of the Italian Council of Ministers, Altero Matteoli, Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Antonio Bassolino, President of the region of Campania, and Rosa Russo Iervolino, Mayor of Naples were present. Mauro Moretti, also Chairman of CER and Vice-Chairman of UIC, had also invited a certain number of European and international personalities.
UIC was represented by its Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, and representatives of Japanese Railways (JR East) and Russian Railways (RZD) also featured among the guests.
On 3 October 1839, Ferdinand II of Bourbon, King of the Two Sicilies, opened the line connecting Naples, capital of his kingdom, with Portici, heralding the start of the railway transport era in Italy. One hundred and seventy years later, it was onboard one of the latest and most high-performance generation of Italian high speed trains, “Freciarossa” (red arrow), that the guests arrived in Naples, taking full measure of the innovation and progress made in Italy, one of the great railway nations.
As Jean-Pierre Loubinoux stated in Pietrarsa, UIC wishes to address its warmest congratulations to Mauro Moretti and Innocenzo Cipoletta for this 170th anniversary and the role Ferrovie dello Stato play nowadays, always showing great leadership within the European and international railway community.