The Corsican railway only serves the northern part of the island..
Indeed, its network in “Y” form only links the towns of Ajaccio and Bastia by way of Corte and Ponte Leccia to Calvi.
It Includes all in all 230km with 157km on the railroad Ajaccio-Bastia and 73km on the railroad Ponte-Leccia-Calvi.
THE HISTORY OF THE CORSICAN RAILWAY
In the middle of the 19th century, General Conti wanted to connect Sardinia to Corsica by train, but unfortunately this project never came about.
Ten years later in 1864 there was a plan to build a railway line from Bastia to Bonifacio along the east coast of the island and another one from Porto-Vecchio to Ajaccio with stops in Sartène and Propriano.
However, because of the progress in shipping, the creation of border taxes and the unification of Italy, it was decided to abandon this project and privilege local transport by creating an inland line between Ajaccio and Bastia.
Four years later, at the beginning of 1868, the Ministry of Public Works asked the head of civil engineering to start work on this project.
The most difficult part was the crossing of the Col de Vizzavona (Vizzanova Pass) at an altitude of 1161 meters.
In August 1869, the engineer in charge of the project submitted a proposition to the supervising minister to build a line between Bastia and Ajaccio via Golo/Corte/Vizzavona, Aleria/Corte/Vizzavona and Porto-Vecchio/Sartène.
However, a year later the civil engineering plans put an end to the idea of building a railway line from Bastia via Sartène to Ajaccio.
As a result of all these disputes, the project came to a halt and it was only 7 years later, on August 25, 1877, that the engineers were asked to recommence, but only with the line from Ajaccio to Bastia.
The project for the construction of the railway was approved by the parliament as being of public interest in 1878.
Work began in 1880 with the drilling of the tunnels in Bastia and Ajaccio.
As of 1882 the line connecting the Balagne was also approved.
The entire project took 16 years (the most difficult parts were the crossing of passes like the one in Vizzavona, where at an altitude of 906 meters a tunnel had to be drilled and bridges and viaducts had to be built).
On the 14th of July 1889 the line Vivario- Bocognano was opened, followed by the openings of the Palasca-Calvi line on November 15, 1890 and the Vivario-Corte line on October 9, 1892.
The line connecting Ghisonaccia-Solenzara was only opened in 1930 and the Solenzara-Porto-Vecchio line in 1935.
Unfortunately, this line was destroyed in 1943 when the Germans invaded the eastern coast.
There are presently discussions underway about rebuilding this line.
THE RAILWAY STATIONS SERVED ON THE BASTIA/AJACCIO RAILROAD
With about 5 rotations per day, here is the list of the towns served by this railroad :
– Ponte Novu
– Ponte Leccia
– Poggio Riventosa
Journey time Bastia/Ajaccio: 3h30
THE RAILWAY STATIONS SERVED ON THE PONTE-LECCIA/CALVI RAILROAD
With about 2 rotations per day, here is the list of the towns served by this railroad :
– Ponte Leccia
– Ile Rousse
Journey time Ponte-Leccia/Calvi: 2h30
It is worth taking the train at least once while you are in Corsica, because aside from being a convenient way to travel, it will take you through some of the most breathtaking sceneries on the island, many of which are not accessible by car.
Now we can only wish you a pleasant journey in Corsican railway !