Since our incorporation in 2001 – as a result of the Concession Act signed in 2000 between the Ministry of Transport and Ferrovie dello Stato – we have been the Single Operator of the national railway infrastructure. Subsequently, we are required to implement the plans defined with the government regarding investments for development of the infrastructure and network maintenance activities. The Programme Contract ultimately governs the economic and financial aspects of the concession relationship between us and the government. 

With a minimum duration of 5 years and the possibility to update and renew even on an annual basis, the Programme Contract incorporates the planning outlined in accordance with the national and EU guidelines along with the constraints relating to the development and management of the railway infrastructure and economic-financial planning, as well as with RFI’s industrial requirements and the needs and expectations of the RUs and other stakeholders.  Updates to the planning are based on studies, analyses, evaluations and projections that take into account the progress in the implementation and design of the planned interventions as well as changes to the context of reference – strategic, legislative, transport, economic and financial – whilst maintaining the safety standards for railway traffic.

Introduced into Italian law in 1987, the Programme Contract for railway infrastructure was adopted in 1991 with the signing of the 1991–1992 Programme Contract between FS and the government, followed by the “bridging” Programme Contract in December 1992 and the 1994–2000 Programme Contract signed in March 1996. 

The government and RFI, established in July 2001, then signed the 2001-2005 Programme Contract, whose validity was extended to 2006 by the Inter-ministerial Committee for Economic Planning Resolution 159/2005 and, in October 2007, the 2007–2011 Programme Contract which, with the 2009 update, incorporated the new aspect introduced by the 2010 Financial Law (Law 191/2009, Article 2[232]) relating to works of high technical complexity and significant financial commitment, to be financed in “tranches” so as to allow the start-up of construction in “construction batches”, including those deemed “non-functional”.

From 2013, pursuant to CIPE Resolution no. 4/2012, the Company’s dealings with the government have no longer been administrated by a single contract but by two documents: the Investment Programme Contract and the Services Programme Contract.

For the first time, the 2021 approval process shall be completed in accordance with the procedures set out in the reform introduced by Decree Law 52/2021 and envisaged by the PNRR (Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan), which significantly accelerated the approval process for the Programme Contracts and defined the Strategic Rail Mobility Document, as the reference for passenger and freight travelling by train.



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The Programme Contract - Investment Section

The Programme Contract - Services Section

The Programme Contract – Investment Section (PC-I) is aimed at regulating the sustainable planning of infrastructure investments relating to safety and compliance with legal requirements, traffic technology and efficiency, measures to increase the performance of existing lines, as well as measures for the construction of new railway works to modernise and develop the network.

The new 2022-2026 Programme Contract – Investment Section, which followed the new procedure set forth in Decree Law 152/2021, was approved by the CIPESS in its meeting of 2 August 2022 with Resolution no. 25 published in the Official Gazette on 9 November 2022, concluding the authorisation process with the signing between MIT and RFI on 19 and 20 December 2022, respectively.

With this act, new resources amounting to approximately 13 billion euro are contracted, set to contribute to the improvement of the performance and accessibility of the rail service through:

  • The full realisation of the European TEN-T corridors for which work is needed to adapt railway lines to European performance standards and to upgrade the TEN-T networks and Alpine crossings. Indeed, for the coordinated development of the European TEN-T transport network, the European Commission has adopted a “Corridor” approach in which 9 European Core Network Corridors have been identified, of which 4 involve Italy;
  • The enhancement and safety of railway traffic by extending the use of ERTMS to the entire network. Today, ERTMS is operational along 758 kilometres of High Speed (HS) lines, whilst the initial realisation on European Corridors (1,500 kilometres) is underway. The objective is to accelerate 100% of the network being equipped with ERTMS (along with the circulating fleet) by 2035, well ahead of the 2050 deadline set at a European level in order to render the Italian railway system amongst the most advanced in the world;
  • Increasing resilience to the climate crisis by enhancing the resilience of infrastructure, bettering energy efficiency and increasing safety, so as to anticipate potential threats from hydro-geological disruption and deal with adverse weather events;
  • The upgrading and extension of High Speed (HS), seeing the extension of HS connectivity and performance through the construction of various infrastructures for the needs of each territory. This serves to improve integration and accessibility between Italy’s main urban areas. By combining the construction of new lines with speeding-up and overcoming saturation, it will be possible to maximise the supply of fast north-south/east-west connections;
  • The improvement of regional, interregional networks, metropolitan city railway nodes and the development of historical lines for tourist use, defined as “non-domestic” railway networks with obvious potential and criticality;
  • An improvement of the national logistics system through the enhancement of last-mile connections with airports, ports and freight terminals;
  • Better quality stations, which should be enhanced as attractive intermodal nodes and hubs for the sustainable development of the territory and its mobility system. Consequently, it will be necessary to classify stations on the basis not only of the number of passengers but in terms of their role in the urban and territorial context, as well as to analyse and define their potential as a transport node and service hub for passengers and the territory;
  • Technological innovation to be developed within all subsystems of the national railway infrastructure.

These aspects are then articulated as follows:

  • 641.61 million euro for improving resilience levels (anticipating threats, coping with adversity and adapting to change in order to create lasting value);
  • 463.08 million for digitisation and technological development (ERTMS technology along the entire network to exploit the potential of the existing infrastructure);
  • 259.63 million for the station accessibility programme;
  • 1,519.52 million for the development of regional systems (reducing the north-south infrastructure gap, improving connections to inland areas and slow tourism with historic railways);
  • 2,260.80 million for upgrading metropolitan junctions (improving accessibility, increasing the quantity and quality of services to reduce commuter journey times);
  • 7,436.34 for extension of the high-speed network to connect the country's main capitals in under 4 hours 30 minutes;
  • 452.04 million for enhancing rail accessibility to ports, airports and terminals (with an increasingly interoperable and interconnected network with the main ports and intermodal terminals to support Italy’s economic and industrial development).

The Programme Contract – Services Section (PC-S) regulates the financing of ordinary and extraordinary maintenance activities of the network, aimed at guaranteeing the usability of the network under conditions of safety and reliability, as well as the financing of other management costs pertaining to railway operations (traffic, safety, security, railway navigation) and of assistance services for passengers with reduced mobility.

The main objective of the PC-S remains the regulation of the financing of maintenance activities on the national railway network for work of the following types:

  • “Ordinary”, aimed at limiting the normal degradation of the infrastructure within the expected useful life of the technical systems into which the infrastructure is divided, and of initial maintenance;
  • “Extraordinary”, aimed at the renewal/replacement of subsystem components or entire subsystems, which increase the value of the asset and, at the same time, improve its reliability, productivity, efficiency and safety.

In line with the new procedure set forth under Law Decree 152/2021, the Programme Contract 2022-2026 – Services Section was approved by the CIPESS in its meeting of 2 August 2022 with Resolution no. 24 published in the Official Gazette on 9 November 2022, concluding the authorisation process with the signing between MIT and RFI on 19 and 20 December 2022, respectively.

The new agreement outlines the plan of activities in the medium term and foresees the resources allocated by the 2022 Budget Law to be finalised regarding investments for extraordinary maintenance, amounting to 5.1 billion euro, along with the resources for operations and routine maintenance totalling approximately 1 billion euro per year for the 2022–2024 three-year period.

The contract also envisages a number of innovations, including the strengthening of the network maintenance level, with the an expansion of the scope of maintenance activities following the inclusion of certain intervention programmes of a recurring nature related to the activities of the Programme Contract – Services Section, previously included in the Programme Contract – Investments Section, and the criteria for assessing the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the interventions, together with the necessary safety and resilience standards of the national railway infrastructure.