Everyone knows that traveling by train in the Cinque Terre can be a nightmare. Way too many people, tiny stations with short platforms, irregular train schedules. Last season (2015) — in our own opinion as guides — the train service was a bit improved from previous years, but it was still inevitably and uncomfortably overrun by excessive demand.
This year, the Italian train company Trenitalia has stepped up and proposed a new system for the Cinque Terre. Basically, the stretch from Levanto to La Spezia, between which are the five stops of the Cinque Terre villages, is going to be run on the principle of a subway line … every thirty minutes, a train will be running in each of the two directions. This means more frequent trains, more regular hours, and (we all hope, crossing our fingers) more flow and less crowding.
In Italy, there is always the fear that the gulf between words and practice is huge, so really we won’t be able to judge the effectiveness of this new proposal until June, when the tourists start showing up in droves. We won’t know if they will be able to keep the trains on schedule or if they will get delayed by the fast trains running on the same lines or the slowness of people hopping on and off the trains. But hope springs eternal, and so for the moment … in Trenitalia we trust!