Rail Stations in Toscana: Livorno S. Marco, the first one


The railway in toscana started from Livorno: The very first line from Livorno to Pisa-Firenze left Livorno more than 150 years ago from the station of Livorno S. Marco to the station of Pisa porta Fiorentina and Firenze Porta al prato.

Currently of these three terminals Livorno S. Marco is used only as a secondary freight station, as does Firenze Porta al Prato, while Pisa porta Fiorentina no longer sees train.

Livorno S. Marco is actually the older of all Railway station in Toscana, and one of older (if not the older of the ones surviving) in Italy


The map on top left helps to illustrate the history:
In the seventh decade of 19th century also the lines from Pisa to Genova and Pisa to Roma had been built.
The latter was choosen to pass from Collesalvetti, to avoid the hills south of Livorno, hence leaving Livorno alone, and Trains from Livorno to south had to go NE to turn south back.
This lead in the eighties to the building of the link from Livorno Calambrone to Collesalvetti, a 11 km single track line to cut the trip via Pisa.
Eventually, this line looked insufficient and so the a new line was built, and opened in 1912. The new line split from the old at Vada, and follewed the coast, with tunnels and viaducts, all double track. At the same time was build the so called "collo d'oca" (goose neck) from Bivio Mortellini to enter the station of Pisa Centrale from East, allowing trains from Roma to go to Genova without changing engine.
This new line split from the old one from Livorno Calambrone, from that time called also Quadrivio Calambrone. and run north of the city, where the where the new throught station was built.

Differently from the more "Classical" Firenze P.P. station (actually a couple of years later), that had the side where the tracks ended opened, so steamer would remain OUT of the station, it had its front closed, now with offices, then with the services for imbound passengers

From 1912 the old station remained in use only for freights, and have been restructured a bit, and optimized for freight services, for example not using the central shed for trains, but as storage, and adding some "equipment" as the shed in above picture to load/unload road truck, in the place where in origin was the entrance for passengers.

The traffic in this station is extremely light, since most of freight originate at Livorno Calambrone, while most of cars are loaded either at the intermodal terminale at Calambrone, or at the stations at harbour, Livorno Portovecchio and Livorno Portonuovo.

Oddly enought this is one of the few stations carrying the FS logo in use from 1984 to 1997, either in its front than on the door of the freight commercial office.

This particular resemble also the other ancient terminal of the line, at Firenze Porta al Prato where is the other freight commercial office in Toscana.

The station mantain however the "old style of clean air"since, as the ones at the harbour it is uneletrified, all work being done by diesel shuntes, some of them of respectable age ( D143, built in 1944 by Whitcomb, to which have been changed the prime mover in 1970)

A brief note on how passengers was handled in XiX century: Most station at the time were terminal, and hosted a single line.
The station inside the shed had only 4 tracks, and only 2 platform externally.

Since trains in most of Western Europe run on left, the leftmost track was used for outbound trains, the rightmost for inbound, and the central one for sending back the locomotive or storing cars on shade (no A/C then).
The fact to have the in and out platforms widely separated was not a great problem, since there was only one line per station and so no connections had to be done inside.

This way on left the stations had all services for passengers on leave, such ticket office and waiting room, and on right wing baggage delivery and few more. This arrangement can be seen at porta al Prato but ,going farther, much better at London St. Pancras. (In Italy of pre 1850 terminal station only these 2 in Toscana survive, but neither of the 2 have the tracks in original position - The arrangement could howewer be found on Pinerolo station, in province of Torino)

Since at Livorno the exit was on front, on right of the station have been built some small apartments for the railway workers.

Look at the arch on top of station that is very railway characteristic, since most of railroad building built from 1850 to 1930 have that shape.
It is an excellent way to trace for old railway artifacts.

Interesting is also the gate to the station, that have textured the old winged wheel logo of FS , in use in the first half of century

                         The station get Its name by the name of the borough of Livorno where is.

It, as most of the station built at the same times (The station of Firenze Maria Antonia, now S.Maria Novella) is one of the few exceptions, ended just out of the city walls, in front of the omonymous gate "Porta S. Marco", built in 1839.

This one is worth seeing, since is one of the very first public building in Iron built in Italy.


From external it look as any other of old gates of the city of Livorno, but as soon you are inside you see the gate in all its beauty.




Livorno Porto Vecchio

The city of Livorno is surrounded on its northern Part by canals, that enter in the city, go around the Fortezza Vecchia and wander around the city.

In XVI and XVII century the ships got anchorage in the harbour, then the lod was trnsferred into small row boats that entered in the city, where inside the walls there were all storages, locally called "Scali" so most of portual work actually occurred inside the city.
Due this peculiarity the quartier where these canals was wandering was ( and still is) called "Venezia".

The city was founded in XV century by Florentines, and to help to grown, to all people that would settle will be given an amnesty and full citizenship.

This way the city was soon populated by people from all over the Europe, mostly political persecuted, and ended with having the largest jewish community in Italy, escaped from spanish inquisition. This made one of the cities that had less prejudices agains foreigner, a thing that maintained until today ( in fact two new boroughts build in the fifties are named Corea and Shanghay )

In the picture at left, that is a view from distance of the station of Livorno Portovecchio, you see at the center the lighthouse and on the left, under the taller crane, the "Tower of Marzocco".

This tower is the symbol of the city and in origin was the tower to survey the sea from the fortress. (Note: The image at right is on the former station at Barriera Margherita of the Pisa-Marina di Pisa-Livorno railway, of which I am preparing a series of pages)

Coming back to railway the short line to Portovecchio leave from the root of Livorno S. Marco then move south along a canal to arrive at the port.

The other station in Livorno, to serve the port are at Portonuovo and Darsena Toscana, on another track that leave from west from Calambrone and cross the new canal of navicelli on a swing bridge.
As an historical note this latter line until 1931, when was opened the electric line from Pisa to Tirrenia and then Livorno that run almost parallel to this one, had in summer a regular passenger service to the beach of Calabrone, a few hundreds meter north of the end of the port.


The above picture show the point where this line depart from the Station of San Marco while the two below show the line in its entirety :-) (the two ones are taken fron an overpass, the first one above is taken from a grade crossing you can see at the end of the second picture)



If you will come here I will be happy to arrange a trip together


You can reach me by e-mail at: leo@freedom.dicea.unifi.it