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Ferrovie dello Stato (FS)
Italian State Railways
 
Page 1: 1905-1968
 
 
This is the first of two pages devoted to postcards and photographs of the Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) - Italian State Railways, and covers the period 1905-68. Page 2 covers the fleet from 1969.
 
An alphabetical list of ships shown on this page is shown below. The Table beneath gives links to complete history pages on selected individual ships. Below the table is a Fleet List in chronological order.
 
 
A Brief History of FS Train Ferries
Italian Railways operate train ferries to the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, although the Sardinian service did not begin until 1961. Railways came to Sicily in 1860, the same year that the island joined the kingdom of Italy. As early as 1872, there were serious plans to connect Sicily to the mainland via a bridge or tunnel, but only now in the 21st Century do such ideas look like being realised, with the completion of a bridge to Messina originally being planned for 2008. Construction never started, for various reasons, and a new government in 2007 cancelled the project, despite huge investment already.
 
The Straits of Messina which separate Sicily from the mainland are only 2 miles wide at one point, although the Messina-Villa San Giovanni route is 5 miles. The service opened in 1896 with the paddlesteamers Scilla (1) and Cariddi (1). The service was nationalised, along with the Italian Railways, in 1905. Two similar paddlesteamers, Sicilia and Calabria, were added in the same year, followed by two larger screw steamers Villa (1) and Reggio (1) in 1909. Only Scilla (1) was lost in the fist war, replaced by a sister of Villa (1) and Reggio (1) in 1922, named Scilla (2). All these ships were double-ended ferries with only a single railway track. The Messina, added in 1923, had three tracks and was diesel-powered. She loaded over the bow only. In 1931, two impressive large modern ferries were added to the fleet, the Scilla (3) and Cariddi (2). They were amongst the largest train ferries in the world, and had advanced features such as diesel-electric propulsion with bridge controls.
 
An impressive new railway and maritime station was built between 1936-40, designed by Angiolo Mazzoni, more details of which are shown on this link. The train ferry fleet in 1939 consisted of Reggio (1), Villa (1), Aspromonte (1) (ex-Scilla (2)), Messina, Scilla (3) and Cariddi (2). All these were lost in the war except the Messina. Most sank in shallow water during the Allied invasion of July/August 1943, and were later raised. Messina had been in Palermo at the start of the war, and avoided the conflict, being the first to return to service in 1944. Reggio (1) returned in 1946, but was not rebuilt and was withdrawn in 1950. Scilla (3) returned looking similar to her pre-war condition, but sister ship Cariddi (2) received a more substantial rebuild and was effectively a new ship when she returned in 1953. Two new ferries were delivered in 1948, followed by two more in the early 1960s. Between 1969-73, three large 5700grt ferries were delivered. These ferries, Iginia, Sibari and Agata, will presumably continue until the planned bridge is completed in 2008. A separate page is devoted to these sisters, travel on which is like a step back to an earlier time of ferry travel. A journey on one of them before the bridge opens is highly recommended. Two further ferries, the Scilla (4) and Villa (2) joined the fleet in 1985, along with a series of smaller "bidirezionali" ferries, mainly used for cars and passengers.
 
The Sardinian train ferry service was introduced between Civitavecchia and Golfo Aranci in 1961, with the newly-built Tyrsus and Hermaea. At the time this was the longest train ferry route in the world, at 120 nautical miles. The slightly larger Gennargentu and Gallura were added in later. Freight ferry Garibaldi joined the fleet in 1982, and Logudoro, similar to Messina ferries Scilla (4) and Villa (2), joined in 1989. The route subsequently became freight only, and all the 1960s ferries have gone.
 
 
Ships on This Page:-
Aspromonte (1) (1931-1942)
Aspromonte (2) (1948-1980) later Secondo Aspromonte
Calabria (1905-1927)
Cariddi (1) (1896-1923)
Cariddi (2) (1932-1992)
Gallura (1968-2002)
Gennargentu (1965-2000)
Hermaea (1962-1999)
Messina (1923-1986)
Mongibello (1949-1995)
Reggio (1) (1909-1950)
Reggio (2) (1960-1990)
San Francesco Di Paola (1964-1998)
Scilla (1) (1896-1917)
Scilla (2) (1922-1931)
Scilla (3) (1931-1977)
Secondo Aspromonte (1948-1980) ex-Aspromonte (2)
Sicilia (1905-1933)
Tyrsus (1961-1994)
Villa (1) (1909-1979)

Ships on Page 2:-
Agata (1973- ) - bidirezionali
Enotria (2002- ) - bidirezionali
Fata Morgana (1988- ) - bidirezionali
Freccia del Peloro (19??-?? ) - hydrofoil
Garibaldi (1982- )
Iginia (1969- )
Logudoro (1988- )
Pace (1974- ) - bidirezionali
Riace (1983- ) - bidirezionali
Rosalia (1973- )
Scilla (4) (1985- )
Segesta Jet (1998- ) - fast ferry
Selinunte Jet (1999- ) - fast ferry
Sibari (1970- )
Tindari Jet (1999- ) - fast ferry
Villa (2) (1985- )
 
 
Associated Pages:-
Ferrovie Stato (FS) - Page 2 - Fleet history from 1969-2003
Messina - Details on Messina port and its ferries
Statens Järnvägar (SJ) - Swedish Railways Train Ferries
Ferry Postcards
Cruise Ship Postcards
Ocean Liner Postcards
Simplon Postcards Home Page
 
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Table of Ship Histories
Name
Other names
 Built
 Iginia  
 1969
 Sibari  
 1970
 Rosalia  
 1972
 
 
 
 
 
Fleet List Part 1 - 1905-69
 
 
Scilla (1) (1896-1917)
Cariddi (1) (1896-23)
Sicilia (1905-1933)
Calabria (1905-1927)
 
Scilla/Cariddi:- 50.5m long - 594 grt - 1 track/5 wagons - 10.5 knots
Sicilia/Calabria:- 53.5m long - 665 grt - 1 track/6 wagons - 11.5 knots
 
The Messina-Villa San Giovanni train ferry service opened in 1896 with the paddlesteamers Scilla (1) and Cariddi (1). The service was nationalised, along with the Italian Railways, in 1905. Two similar paddlesteamers Sicilia and Calabria, slightly longer and faster, were added in the same year. Scilla (1) sank in 1917, after hitting a mine, whilst the other ships were withdrawn in the 1920s and 1930s as newer tonnage was delivered.
 
 
Postcard of Scilla (1).
 
 
 
 
 
Villa (1) (1909-1979)
Reggio (1) (1909-1950)
Scilla (2) - Aspromonte (1) (1922-1942)
 
77.62m long - 1262 grt - 1 track/8 wagons - 12.5 knots
 
In 1909, two larger screw ferries, Villa (1) and Reggio (1) were added to the Messina-Villa San Giovanni route. A third ship Scilla (2) was added in 1922 to replace the pioneer ferry Scilla (1) which had been lost in the war. Scilla (2) was rebuilt in 1931 and renamed Aspromonte (1). She was torpedoed and lost in 1942. Her older sisters survived both wars, although both had sunk in shallow water.
 
 
Postcard of Reggio (1).
 
 
FS photograph of Villa (1) after postwar rebuild.
 
 
Postcard of Villa (1) after postwar rebuild.
 
 
 
 
 
Messina (1923-1986)
 
Postcard of Messina as rebuilt postwar.
 
 
 
 
 
Scilla (3) (1931-1977)
 
As built:- 109.10m long - 4000 grt - 3 tracks=25 wagons/10 coaches - 15.5 knots - 1400 passengers
As rebuilt:- 111.38m long - 4477 grt - 3 tracks=25 wagons/10 coaches - 15.5 knots - 1490 passengers
 
In 1931, two impressive large modern ferries were added to the fleet, the Scilla (3) and Cariddi (2). They were amongst the largest train ferries in the world, and had advanced features such as diesel-electric propulsion with bridge controls. Scilla (3) was built by Cant.Federati di Pierra Ligure and had Fiat two-stroke diesels. Scilla (3) could carry 10 bogie coaches - a complete train. Her higher speed than previous ferries allowed the crossing time to be reduced from 35 to 25 minutes. Scilla (3) was bombed and sunk in shallow water in May 1943, but was raised in 1944 and re-entered service in 1948 following rebuilding with a raised bow at Navalmeccanica, Castellammare. In 1957 she received an extended upper deck to carry more cars. Scilla (3) was removed from regular service in 1974.
 
 
Postcard of Scilla (3) as built.
 
 
Postcard of Scilla (3) as built.
 
 
Postcard of Scilla (3) as built.
 
 
Postcard of Scilla (3) as rebuilt postwar with higher bow.
 
 
Postcard of Scilla (3) as rebuilt postwar with higher bow.
 
 
Postcard of Scilla (3) as rebuilt postwar with higher bow.
 
 
 
 
 
Cariddi (2) (1932-1992)
 
As Built:- 109.10m long - 4000 grt - 3 tracks=25 wagons/10 coaches - 15.5 knots - 1400 passengers
As Built:- 122.36m long - 4850 grt - 4 tracks=25 wagons/10 coaches - 16.7 knots - 1800 passengers
 
In 1931, two impressive large modern ferries were added to the fleet, the Scilla (3) and Cariddi (2). They were amongst the largest train ferries in the world, and had advanced features such as diesel-electric propulsion with bridge controls. Cariddi (2) was built by Cant.Riunite Adriatico, Trieste, and had B&W four-stroke single-acting diesels. Cariddi (2) could carry 10 bogie coaches - a complete train. Her higher speed than previous ferries allowed the crossing time to be reduced from 35 to 25 minutes. Cariddi (2) was scuttled by the retreating German Army in Paradiso Bay on August 16th 1943, the day before hostilities ended on Sicily. She was not raised until December 1948, and re-entered service in 1953 following major rebuilding at Cant. del Tirreno, Riva Trigoso. Cariddi (2) returned to service as a virtually new ship - 13m longer and rail tracks increased from 3 to 4. She also had a distinctive new appearance, with two large modern funnels. Cariddi (2) was removed from regular service in 1991, but remains laid up near Messina harbour in 2003.
 
 
Postcard of Cariddi (2) as built.
 
 
Postcard of Cariddi (2) as rebuilt postwar.
 
 
Postcard of Cariddi (2) as rebuilt postwar.
 
 
Photograph of Cariddi (2) laid up at Messina.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, Messina, 27th August 2003.
 
 
Photograph of Cariddi (2) laid up at Messina.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, Messina, 27th August 2003.
 
 
Photograph of Cariddi (2) laid up at Messina.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, Messina, 27th August 2003.
 
 
Photograph of Cariddi (2) laid up at Messina.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, Messina, 27th August 2003.
 
 
Photograph of Cariddi (2) laid up at Messina.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, Messina, 27th August 2003.
 
 
Photograph of Cariddi (2) laid up at Messina.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, Messina, 27th August 2003.
 
 
 
 
 
Aspromonte (2)
Secondo Aspromonte (1948-1990)
 
98.36m long - 1590 grt - 3 tracks - 1000 passengers - 14.9 knots
 
Two new ferries were delivered in 1948/49, Aspromonte (2), soon renamed Secondo Aspromonte, and the Mongibello. They were 3-track, diesel driven ferries with a service speed of 12.5 knots. Both sisters were modernised in 1979/80. Secondo Aspromonte,was withdrawn in 1990, and the Mongibello in 1995.
 
 
Postcard of Aspromonte (2).
 
 
Postcard of Aspromonte (2).
 
 
Postcard as renamed Secondo Aspromonte.
 
 
 
 
 
Mongibello (1949-1995)
 
98.36m long - 1590 grt - 3 tracks - 1000 passengers - 14.9 knots
 
Two new ferries were delivered in 1948/49, Aspromonte (2), soon renamed Secondo Aspromonte, and the Mongibello. They were 3-track, diesel driven ferries with a service speed of 12.5 knots. Both sisters were modernised in 1979/80. Secondo Aspromonte, was withdrawn in 1990, and the Mongibello in 1995.
 
 
Photograph of Mongibello, with Secondo Aspromonte in the background.
 
 
Photograph of Mongibello.
Photo: © Mike Tedstone, Messina,1987.
 
 
 
 
 
Reggio (2) (1960-1990)
 
128.5m long - 3712 grt - 4 tracks - 34 cars - 1800 passengers - 18.0 knots
 
 
Photographic postcard of Reggio (2).
 
 
Postcard of Reggio (2).
 
 
Postcard of Reggio (2).
 
 
Enlarged detail from the postcard above of Reggio (2).
 
 
Postcard of Reggio (2).
 
 
Reggio with Villa behind.
Photo: © Mike Tedstone, Messina, 1987.
 
 
 
 
 
Tyrsus (1961-1994)
Hermaea (1962-1999)
 
120.96m long - 4447 grt - 3 tracks - 180 cars - 587 passengers - 18.0 knots
 
 
Postcard of Tyrsus.
Click to open larger image in new window
 
 
FS photograph of Hermaea.
 
 
FS photograph of Tyrsus.
 
 
FS photograph of Tyrsus.
 
 
Postcard of Tyrsus.
 
 
Postcard of Tyrsus.
 
 
 
 
 
San Francesco Di Paola (1964-1998)
 
128.51m long - 4030 grt - 4 tracks - 180 cars - 1784 passengers - 18.0 knots
 
 
FS photograph of San Francesco Di Paola.
 
 
FS photograph of San Francesco Di Paola.
 
 
Postcard of San Francesco Di Paola.
 
 
Photograph of San Francesco Di Paola.
Photo: © Mike Tedstone, Messina,1987.
 
 
 
 
 
Gennargentu (1965-2000)
Gallura (1968-2002)
 
122.18m long - 4887 grt - 3 tracks - 180 cars - 587 passengers - 18.0 knots
 
 
Postcard of Gennargentu.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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