|The pristine travertine stairs and escalators at the Lodi station, on its pre-opening day tour|
|Men in Black|
The line is billed as from "Mirti" to "Lodi" because the outer part of the line, the old train line, is already operating. But Lodi is the most central of the Rome portion of the line - to date. The line still doesn't hook up with either of the other 2 operating lines - A and B, but it will when the San Giovanni station is added in, supposedly, 2016.
|A visitor checks out the line - it's the part in red we're visiting.|
So we showed up at the "Lodi" station - named for its proximity to Piazza Lodi - at noon, when the stations were to open. Well, we were 5 minutes early. So you can see the guys in black blocking the entrance until the appointed hour. And it turns out, guys in black were at every station, being very one-might-say fascist-like in ordering the few people coming to see the stations which way to go in and out, protecting fenced areas, and the like. Part of the ambiance of the day.
Lodi is undistinguished from the outside. It has only surface level entrances. Below it has some of the grand travertine staircases and it looks wonderfully shiny new, of course. So we dutifully walked down all the levels, and up, and marched on to the next station.
|Pigneto station skylight, outside|
Pigneto comes next, and this is a long-awaited station in a rapidly gentrifying, even hipster neighborhood of Rome. Pigneto's station is more interesting, with an enormous skylight. And here we learned about the "TBM", "Tunnel Boring Machine" (yep, that's Italian) used to create the metro openings below ground without opening up the ground from the surface and then
|Display photo of Pigneto station under construction.|
|Leftist graffiti in Pigneto|
|Dianne interviewed by radio reporter at Malatesta station|
|Photo op for mayor (red tie) and cohorts.|
|Inside the cars|
|"Data (I Numeri) of the "Driverless trains"":|
80 km/hr maximum; 35 km/hour normal; 1200 passengers
per trip; + or - 30 centimeters - leeway in terms of where
they stop at the stations.
|Open stairs lead down into the Malatesta station|
Walking out of the Malatesta station to the next one, Teano, we were reminded that, yes, old Rome still exists.
|Opera sets were stored here.|
|Atrium for commerce and cultural events, Teano|
|The prosaic Gardenie station.|
|1930s public housing in the far-flung suburbs.|
We ended up at Mirti in Centocelle, a once disparaged suburb of Rome that is reviving a bit, and certainly the metro line will help that.
|That's a victory sign at Mirti, as well as storm clouds brewing.|
|Tour group at the Mirti station.|
|Dianne checks the various transit options.|
|What the 'normal' transit underground looks like.|
The Italians are good at design, and these stations are striking in their pristine state. We don't want to think what they might look like if the graffiti artists get busy on them. This project connects some of these far flung suburbs and we hope makes Romans living in them feel more in touch with the city itself.
|Video in the station teaching kids to hang on.|
We'll do a check in 2016 to see how the system is progressing.
|Study in black and white|