It appears that the important rail link between France and Italy will remain unusable until at least the summer of 2024. In August this year, a landslide in the Maurienne valley caused its closure. Around 10,000 cubic meters of rock fell due to heavy rains. It led to the temporary closure of the Fréjus tunnel, a vital transport artery, which remains closed due to ongoing maintenance.
The French government had estimated the line would reopen in two months, but now says repairs will take longer.
With the ski season and Christmas holidays in both European countries, the transalpine line was an essential means of transport for visitors. As the train will not run during the winter, travelers will have to choose between plane and car.
As a result, local authorities are sounding the alarm about increasing carbon emissions from the expected increase in automobile traffic and air travel.
François Ravier, regional director of French railway company SNCF in Savoie, recently told the press that he hoped to complete the work by summer 2024. However, it is possible that service could be disrupted until September.
How has the closure of the railway tunnel between Italy and France affected tourism?
The ongoing closure of the Fréjus rail tunnel has a significant impact on rail services. Freight trains and the TGV line which normally connects Paris and Milan are also affected.
According to the Lyon-Turin Transalpine Railway Commission, this will require “long and costly diversions through Switzerland”.
“Switch to the vehicle for medium-distance excursions and to the plane for long distances,” the committee recommends to travelers, as France tries to reduce domestic flights.
Paris-Milan is already one of the busiest European air routes, so Spanish low-cost airline Volotea will offer a more frequent service on this route.
Motorists can expect additional traffic on the ring road around Turin and on the route between Maurienne and Susa Valley.
The closure of the Mont Blanc road tunnel for repairs from October 16 to December 18 could also cause delays in the run-up to the end-of-year holidays.