Italy: Accident forces closure of Rome metro line

2015-09-28 19:28
Rome subway. (<a>Shutterstock</a>)

Rome subway. (Shutterstock)

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Rome - Metro services through central Rome were suspended following an accident on Monday, adding to the city's chronic congestion and sparking fresh concern over its ability to cope with a massive influx of visitors during an upcoming Catholic holy year.

Part of the ceiling of a tunnel near Spagna station, serving the world-famous Spanish Steps, collapsed over a passing metro convoy. Public transport company Atac said passengers were evacuated and no-one was hurt.

The accident led to the closure of Line A from Termini, Rome's main train station, to Ottaviano, a station in the upscale Prati district, from around 09:30 (07:30 GMT) to 16:00. In chaotic scenes, angry passengers were forced to board over-crowed replacement buses.

Transport Alderman Stefano Esposito said a loose battery pack, fitted on top of metro train carriages, could have caused the collision. He also admitted that the city's infrastructure was badly run down and in need of repairs.

Cash-strapped local authorities, who in recent months have faced criticism over corruption scandals and endemic public transport and waste collection problems, are struggling to fix the situation.

Rome will host the Jubilee of Mercy from December 8 to November 2016, an event called by Pope Francis and which is expected to attract more than 30 million people. But no major public works have been planned to prepare the city, due to bureaucratic wrangling and lack of funds.

Read more on:    pope francis  |  vatican city  |  italy

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