The International Steam Pages

A Steamy Day Out in Northern Italy

James Waite reports on a May 2008 trip:

We made a day trip to Bergamo on 1 May (about 30 miles north east of Milan and a Ryanair hub for flights into northern Italy from all over Europe) for a steam special over the Palazzolo sull'Oglio to Paratico-Sarnico line.

The line is about 5 miles long - a branch off the main electrified Milan - Bergamo - Brescia - Venice line. Paratico is a small town at the southern end of Lake Iseo. Very scenic and there are quite a number of phot spots along the line. The day started with a 10.00 run from Bergamo, reaching Paratico-Sarnico about 11.00. Most of the passengers then took part in a boat trip around the lake lasting most of the day until the return run to Bergamo leaving Paratico-Sarnico at 18.45. In the meanwhile the train made two return trips to Palazzolo during the afternoon.

We were just about the only foreign gricers there - in fact there were very few gricers at all - and were taken under the wing of a retired FS officer who invited us into his compartment in a vintage 1st class coach reserved for FS guests - after which he took us on a trip round the town and then to lunch as the guests of honour of the train crew - all 40 or so of them. Real Italian hospitality and an unexpected delight. 

One of the sights he showed us was an old train ferry dock at Paratico used for boarding freight wagons onto barges for shipping around the lake until the mid 1990's. The barges were transported with up to three abreast each side of a tugboat sandwiched in the middle and must have been quite a sight.

The line is closed to ordinary traffic and the trains are promoted by a local organisation. They are advertising further steam runs in 2008 on 2 June from Milan Lambrate to Paratico-Sarnico, on 15 June from Milan Lambrate to the Lake Garda area, on 14 September from Brescia to Sale Marasino (on Lake Iseo), on 28 September from Bergamo tp Paratico-Sarnico and on 9 November from Milan Lambrate to Iseo.

They also mention another Italian tour train website which is new to me -

625.177 running round at Paratico

The ferry berth at Paratico

625.177 with freight stock at Paratico

625.177 passing Capriolo with the evening train back to Bergamo.

Click here for a Regional Guide to Italian Heritage Steam

Rob Dickinson