First section of Bicocca – Catenanuova railway delivered

Bicocca – Catenanuova railway

Webuild has delivered the first 11.5 km of the Bicocca – Catenanuova railway built in Sicily which was completed respecting the accelerated work plan signed in June 2023 with RFI, aiming at anticipating the completed activation of the railway doubling from February 2026 to February 2025.

The activation of the section, the first one along the Palermo – Catania – Messina route, will allow completely using the double track in the 38 km, connecting Catenanuova station, in the province of Enna, to the Catania Bicocca station.

The project includes the doubling of the 37.5-km Bicocca and Catenanuova section of a railway line that runs between Palermo and Catania in Sicily. The contract covered new railway headquarters, a superstructure, the installation of signalling and communication systems, electrical substations to power the trains, the renovation of the Bicocca station and the construction of a new station at Motta Sant’Anastasia.

The delivered section is enriched with complex works, with 9 of the total 17 railway viaducts along the entire lot. All level crossings were also removed to ensure safer road mobility along the roads crossed by the line. The Master Plan adjustments regarding the Catania Bicocca station and the Catenanuova one was also concomitantly completed, in line with the accelerated plan timings, with regard to adding the second track along the section being built in both of the existing stations.

Works will continue with the laying of double track in the two sections between Sferro and Motta Sant’Anastasia, for 16 km, and between Motta Sant’Anastasia and Bicocca, for approximately 10.5 km.

The overall project, which has now reached 83% of the total, will allow safely increase the number of transiting trains, while also reducing the travel times, and promoting better sustainable mobility compared to tyre transport. The line’s capacity will be increased, when works are completed, and trains will be able to reach a maximum speed of 160 km/h, against the current 100km/h that in some sections is lowered to 80-90 km/h. Travel times will improve from 25 to 17 minutes.

Bicocca – Catenanuova railway line is the first section of the doubling of the Palermo – Messina line  with Webuild being engaged in building 8 projects, with 7 railway sections along the along the high-speed route and a lot for the Ragusana motorway that will connect Ragusa to Catania. These works that are part of the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor of the TEN-T network will contribute to providing Sicily with modern transport infrastructure.

They will also ensure growth and specialised employment from the moment construction works began. 1,700 people are already working on the projects (directly and indirectly), also with the involvement of 1,150 supply chain companies since works started.

These Sicilian construction sites are places of innovation and advanced research on processes, products, and materials. They contribute to the sector’s technological advancement and to the group’s competitiveness. The green TBMs used to bore the tunnels are environmentally friendly, making use of cutting-edge technology in terms of environmental sustainability.

In Belpasso, in the province of Catania, Webuild has built a robotized factory named Roboplant that produces pre-cast concreted segments that line the tunnels of the two lots that the Group is currently building along the Catania – Messina route. A second factory will also soon be opened in Dittaino, near Enna, Sicily.

The first of its kind in Italy, the Belpasso factory will produce a segment every 7 minutes (against the 10 minutes required without total automation). And, in fact, with the purpose of ensuring specialized workmanship in the Italian island’s construction sites, the Group has created a training and employment programme called Cantiere Lavoro Italia, with the aim of hiring 2,500 new people in 2024, in Italy, of which 80% from the South.

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