Italy: Work restarts on Lyon-Turin rail link

28 June 2011
La Stampa

, 28 June 2011

"TGV en route after battle ends," headlines La Stampa in the wake of the violent clashes that marked the opening of the work site for the construction of the high-speed Lyon-Turin rail link in the Susa Valley in Northwest Italy. The newspaper reports that the skirmishes, which injured four protesters and 25 police, broke out when authorities moved into to dismantle barricades manned by several thousand supporters of the No TAV ("No to High Speed") collective. They were blocking road access to the work site.

La Stampa welcomes the breaching of "the wall of illegality that surrounded the work site," while acknowledging that fears voiced by local residents about the site's impact on the valley are legitimate. "The start of work will send a positive signal to the European Union, which had issued a number of ultimatums over delays on the Italian section of the project.” As La Stampa points out, if construction work had not begun by the end of June, 600 million euros in European grants for the Lyon-Turin line — which is set to cut journey times between Paris and Milan from seven to three hours — could have been lost.