Dual Sun 02 July 2017

The Ancient Orte – Capranica – Civitavecchia Railway

There's a path in the wood... Yes, this could be the beginning to tell what the ancient
Orte – Capranica – Civitavecchia Railway is today, disused since 1961 and totally abandoned for the entire section since the 1990s. We only have a very little that could remind of a railway, and that's what is amazing about it, at least for people who want to ride their motorcycle for many and many kilometers immersed in wild nature.
The  story of this railway starts at the end of 19th Century, when the intention was to link, in a transverse way, Civitavecchia's port with the port of Ancona. The first part was completed in 1894, then the works went on with many complications until last century, till its disuse. The itinerary was no longer profitable, because of war and meteorological problems; the appearance of modern means of transport, the distance of the railway stations from the populated areas and the missing possibility of investments made this fascinating railway section die.

Sometimes people talk about the desire of making it ''live'' again and to complete it.
In addition in the 1970s it had a huge revival thanks to many war and western movies shoot in the areas which had just been disused, but the loss of funds and the everlasting economic crisis never let these good intentions become reality. And it's better that way! Why? Because now we can ride our enduro motorcycles on this amazing path!
Would you ever imagine that right after the entrance of Civitavecchia highway you can start a trip on your motorcycle in a ''disused'', unexpected but still fascinating world that only the Tuscia of Viterbo could ever offer. We rode older or less old motorcycles on it, in slow mode to appreciate the feelings that only such landscapes can cause.
The dirt road that once hosted the railway, is now crossed by mountain bikes, motorcycles and on foot. Our trip starts from the old Liberty style railway station of Mole del Mignone, now precarious, like almost all the stations that we can find travelling along the old railway till Capranica.
Right after we enter the first of seven galleries that constitute the section. None of them is well-lighted and you can often find mud puddles, and they must be crossed on the right or on the left not to go on the central tunnel, only in part covered in cement. We travelled long dirt roads, flanked by shrubs, that become slimy morasses in the nearby of galleries for mud, sometimes present even during summery periods. Reached the fourth gallery, always full of water, you have to deviate to a beautiful dirt road which takes us to the Church of Farnesiana, and after a few paved kilometers, to the station of Allumiere above which we enter a countryside path which flanks the Old Railway that is now impossible to cross because it's closed.
Once on the asphalt again (it is an euphemism to say asphalt since the bottom is more disconnected than all the off we did so far) we travel Marano route till down the town of Tolfa. In the nearby of Rota Castle we enter a beautiful dirt road that takes us to Civitella Cesi and, on paved path, we go to Barbarano Romano, where we find again our ''Old'' (railway).
New galleries and insidious sandy strips - footprints of the ballast that once hosted the binaries now almost completely invaded by vegetation – take us to Capranica station where, along the Cassia, we stop for lunch in a typical restaurant and then in the afternoon we go on, a it weighty, with our trip crossing a super dusty section of Via Francigena and flanking, only in part, Capranica – Orte railway.
Arrived in the nearby of Vico Matrino, we enter a dirt road that takes us to Blera town and, on paved road, we arrive at the station of Civitella Cesi. We travel the last section of the Old Railway, super insidious because of the sand on the path and... because of sheeps' ordure!We arrive at the old station of Monte Romano and at the viaduct on Mignone Stream. Here it really looks like to be in the Far West. Maybe we crossed for the last time the Old Railway from Civitavecchia to Capranica, the neglect of the places will make disappear this masterpiece of the Italy of the past.

 

References:

to understand well the story of this railway we suggest the reading of this beautiful article that shows also some pictures of the working section:
http://www.ilmondodeitreni.it/lineeferroviarie/OCCp1.html

Text and photos by Enrico Vignali and Alessandro Bellucci

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