Southern Italy - Bari to Sicily

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by TorqueOfTheDevil, 6 Dec 2017.

  1. TorqueOfTheDevil

    TorqueOfTheDevil Member

    Messages:
    270
    Joined:
    27 Feb 2007
    Good afternoon. I'm hoping to get to Sicily in April, and the flight times and prices to Bari are the best to that region, and I had expected that it would be fairly straightforward to travel by train from Bari down to Villa San Giovanni and across the straits. However, looking at Italiarail, the quickest journey takes nearly 12 hours! Getting to Sibari (which I was expecting to be on the way from Bari) is over 35 hours, changing in Milan!

    Either I'm looking for timetable information in the wrong place or there is no longer a worthwhile service on the lines south and west from Bari (even Bari to Taranto has no service before 1425). Could somebody help please? It's not an area I know (yet), and I may have to change my plans significantly!
     
  2. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

    Messages:
    10,281
    Joined:
    22 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Mold, Clwyd
    I flew to Naples recently, and on by day train (picking up the Rome-Sicily service) to Catania.
    But I did want to do the western coastal run down to Sicily.
    Trains seem very sparse on the eastern side, and the trains that exist seem to aim for Naples and Rome.
    Some of the lines are locally/regionally owned, not part of the Trenitalia system.
    I take it you've tried Trenitalia? http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en
    If you dig far enough, they have a pdf version of the national timetable.
    It's also possible the new timetable is not fully loaded yet, so it's worth checking again after 10 December.
    It's easy to fly back to the UK from Catania.
     
  3. blackfive460

    blackfive460 Member

    Messages:
    522
    Joined:
    23 Jun 2010
    Try Deutsche Bahn's journey planner - http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en (uses HAFAS).

    Looking at a random date in April you'll find that there are services to Taranto long before 14:25, the earliest is 05:30 but the journey to Sicily from Bari will take you around 10 hours by train.
    Alternatively you can fly from Bari to Catania or Palermo.
     
  4. Iskra

    Iskra Established Member

    Messages:
    1,240
    Joined:
    11 Jun 2014
    Location:
    Chapeltown, Sheffield
    I think you're underestimating the distances involved and a quick look at a rail map of Italy will show you that there isn't a direct line between the two points and much of the terrain you want to travel is rather hilly. It's like getting from Penzance to Holyhead for example. Not easy.

    The options:

    - Travel to Naples by relatively fast train, then travel to Reggio Calabria by express or high speed train. This is probably the fastest option.
    - Bari-Taranto and then either across to the West Coast for a fast train (the same train as the one you would end up on if you went via Naples) or a very slow trip around the South Coast of Italy via Catanzaro, there is one 'fast' train a day that does Taranto-Reggio Calabria but it takes a long time.

    Are you wanting to cross the straits of Messina via rail specifically? If you're wanting to do that, that will slow the journey down even more as rail crossings are infrequent and slow. If however you boarded the frequent ferry/hydrofoil services as a foot passenger and then walked to Messina station on the other side to continue your journey by train, that could speed things up again.

    What exactly are you entering into the journey planner as that could be slowing down the journey? Also, are you putting in the main train stations in these places? Many Italian towns have multiple stations which can be confusing.

    I'm getting a journey time of 9 hours from Bari to Reggio Calabria with one change, you could be in Messina in under an hour as a foot passenger on a hydrofoil.
     
    Last edited: 6 Dec 2017
  5. Iskra

    Iskra Established Member

    Messages:
    1,240
    Joined:
    11 Jun 2014
    Location:
    Chapeltown, Sheffield
    Also: Have you looked at flying from London Stansted to Lamezia with Ryanair, it's the flight I normally get to Southern Italy. The airport is a 10 minute taxi journey to the train station which has fast Intercity services down the west coast, you could be on Sicily within 3 hours.
     
  6. johnnychips

    johnnychips Established Member

    Messages:
    1,444
    Joined:
    19 Nov 2011
    Location:
    Doncaster
    Read ‘Italian Ways’ by Tim Parks.
     
  7. Groningen

    Groningen Established Member

    Messages:
    1,823
    Joined:
    14 Jan 2015
    The price of crossing into Sicily is 2 or 2,50 euro one way. There is 1 at both railwaystations and 1 something further north.
     
  8. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

    Messages:
    1,322
    Joined:
    17 Aug 2009
    Last year's Euro Rail Timetable (T637) shows precisely one train a day each way covering the route between Taranto (115km S of Bari) and Reggio di Calabria via Sibari/Crotone, an IC leaving Taranto at 0813 arriving RdC at 1400. It's 473km. Otherwise, there's a desperately slow 0900 bus to Sibari/train to Catanzaro/train to RdC arrive 1810.
    There are no other connections on that route, so unless you leave Bari at 0624 to Taranto to connect into that IC, you would have to take a different route, probably across to Napoli and down the west coast as posted above.
     
    Last edited: 7 Dec 2017
  9. Groningen

    Groningen Established Member

    Messages:
    1,823
    Joined:
    14 Jan 2015
    From arrival in Messina or Reggio Calabria to departure in the other town (so including the train on the ferry) is often 2,5 hours.
     
  10. SHD

    SHD Member

    Messages:
    33
    Joined:
    18 Jul 2012
    Trenitalia has another (slow...) IC between Taranto-C. (13:07) and Reggio Calabria-C. (20:05).

    Operated by a truly vintage ALn 668: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FS_Class_ALn_668

    The scenery is breathtaking almost all the way.
     
  11. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

    Messages:
    1,322
    Joined:
    17 Aug 2009
    Last edited: 7 Dec 2017
  12. TorqueOfTheDevil

    TorqueOfTheDevil Member

    Messages:
    270
    Joined:
    27 Feb 2007
    Many thanks to all who have replied - a lot of really helpful information.

    I take it you've tried Trenitalia? http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en

    Actually I hadn't, because Italiarail (which I found through Seat 61) claims to be powered by Trenitalia, so I assumed that I would get the same information. How wrong I was!

    Guilty! And a good point about the significant time penalty involved in staying on the train while it gets put on and off the ferry.

    Yes, but the flight times and/or prices of all the more direct options put me off for the dates I'm looking at.

    Once again, my thanks to all who have replied.
     
  13. TorqueOfTheDevil

    TorqueOfTheDevil Member

    Messages:
    270
    Joined:
    27 Feb 2007
    Many thanks to all who have replied - a lot of really helpful information.

    Actually I hadn't, because Italiarail (which I found through Seat 61) claims to be powered by Trenitalia, so I assumed that I would get the same information. How wrong I was!

    Guilty! And a good point about the significant time penalty involved in staying on the train while it gets put on and off the ferry.

    Yes, but the flight times and/or prices of all the more direct options put me off for the dates I'm looking at.

    Once again, my thanks to all who have replied.
     
  14. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

    Messages:
    10,281
    Joined:
    22 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Mold, Clwyd
    Volotea has flights at about 25 euros from Bari to Catania/Palermo, runs on 4 days a week.
    You might even get to ride on a Boeing 717!
    http://www.volotea.com/en
     
  15. Iskra

    Iskra Established Member

    Messages:
    1,240
    Joined:
    11 Jun 2014
    Location:
    Chapeltown, Sheffield

    This info is out of date guys, and last year some new units have been introduced to the line- I've been visiting parts of this line every year for around 10 years now.

    The old ALn 668 units only operate the local services, and the units used all have 1st class compartments at one end.

    The IC services have traditionally always been LHCS with usually 2 or sometimes 3 air-conditioned coaches, with 1st class (but no obvious catering provision). Modern DMU's may have replaced one of the LHCS sets as of last summer on the IC services.

    It is also worth noting that Italian second class is much more comfortable than English standard class, with wider seats and more legroom.

    Some photo's from my trips:

    https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/iskras-odysseys.108357/page-2#post-2279570
    Post features, the ALn 668, including an interior shot, and one of the IC LHCS sets.

    https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/iskras-odysseys.108357/page-7#post-3018422
    Post featuring one of the new DMU's
    There are also lots more of my Italian wonderings in that thread including Naples-Lamezia and Lamezia-Reggio Calabria for those interested.

    Also, for the OP once on Sicily be sure to visit Syracuse/Siricusa, it's beautiful.
     
    Last edited: 7 Dec 2017
  16. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

    Messages:
    10,281
    Joined:
    22 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Mold, Clwyd
    Seconded!
    Also the Circumetnea narrow gauge railway around the smoking volcano at about 10km range.
    Mix of ancient and brand-new (Polish) DMUs. Starts from Catania Borgo at the end of the metro.
     

Share This Page