Rome train station fire frustrates travellers
Tourists walk past the Tiburtina station, one of Rome's railway station, Sunday July 24, 2011. (AP / Pier Paolo Cito)
The Associated Press
Published Sunday, July 24, 2011 11:39AM EDT
ROME - A blaze at one of Rome's railway stations Sunday forced cancellation or long delays for many trains along the nation's major north-south routes passing through the capital.
Fire officials and the state railways said the blaze began before dawn Sunday in a machine room in Tiburtina station, on the eastern end of the capital. By late afternoon, fire officials said the blaze was finally under control.
No injuries were reported.
Fire and railway officials said the cause of the blaze was under investigation.
For most of the day, only two lines passing through the station were open, but railways spokesman Federico Fabretti said that by mid-afternoon the number of trains that were running through the station was doubling.
Those lines included regional and medium-to-long run trains. Some high-speed trains running between Milan and the south were rerouted along western coastal lines via the Tuscan city of Pisa to avoid Tiburtina.
At Rome's main station, Termini, some travellers were taking suburban trains to an outlying station to catch buses being arranged to go to destinations including Florence and Ancona on the Adriatic, where many vacationers head to seaside resorts, according to Sky TG24 TV.
The main stations in Milan and Rome posted delays of at least several hours for the long-distance trains that were still running. At least one high-speed train that left Milan made it only as far south as Florence, where passengers were told the train would not continue to Rome.
Trains originating from Rome's Termini station and headed toward Naples and other points south were running because those routes don't pass through Tiburtina.
One of Rome's subway lines runs under the station. While not caught up in the blaze itself, smoke entered the subway tunnel at Tiburtina, forcing the closure of that metro stop until Monday, Mayor Gianni Alemanno said.
Alemanno, speaking to reporters at the fire scene, urged those who live near Tiburtina to keep their windows closed as thick, dark smoke continued to billow out of the station.