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History of the railway line between Rimini and the Republic of San Marino

Il By Train The San Marino By Train not only creates a new service for tourists, but evokes isomething that has existed in the past and has remained in the heart of San Marino: the railway line Rimini-San Marino.

The new train will not go anymore on binaries, but it will circulate on wheels on part of the old route between San Marino and Borgo Maggiore, having all necessary approvals for road traffic.

It does not change the landscape but it will be an help for appreciate some places otherwise non-passable, for examples tunnels.

The tunnels are a very important part of the history not only of the Republic but also neighboring territories; the galleries that housed thousands of refugees, are now passable by small train.

The history of the Rimini-San Marino railway line began on December 3rd 1928, when the first stone was laid for the station in the town of San Marino. A parchment, silver pieces from San Marino and a 10 lire gold coin from 1883 were placed inside.

Construction of the line’s 32 km employed 3,000 workers and required 8 million man-hours, 30 tons of dynamite and 20,000 tons of cement to strengthen the ground.

On June 12th 1932, the Rimini-San Marino railway line was inaugurated at the Dogana station, a stone’s throw from the Italian border.

On June 13th 1932 the railway began service with four pairs of passenger trains and one freight train. The route was 32 km long, 19 of which were in the territory of San Marino. The tortuous route climbed slowly toward the peak of the mountain. The train would depart from Rimini at 3 m above sea level and reach the last station at an altitude of 642.8 m, passing through four stations and five stops.

Passengers could choose their accommodations in different types of cars. The privileged traveled in the lounge car, which comprised 6 seats in the lounge and 10 seats in the first class compartment, while the third class car had 32 seats. Other accommodations were also available in first class with 10 seats separated from the rest of the car.

A one-way ticket from Rimini to San Marino cost 12 lire and 40 cents in first class, and only 7.50 in third class. The ride lasted one hour and 7 minutes.

The service provided 4 departures per day. In a time when crossing the Alps was a privilege for the few, the railway combined the beauty of the route with the excitement of a trip abroad, linking the mountains to the sea in only one hour.

The train service allowed for better communication and trade between Italy and San Marino, but on June 26th 1944 American bombers struck the railway line between the Domagnano and Valdragone stations. Despite the bombing, the train managed to continue minimal service between Domagnano and Rimini until the night of July 11th 1944, when San Marino’s railway met its demise.

A real home
during the war

In San Marino, as in Italy, Mussolini wasted no time showing off his industriousness. The regime launched a project to build a railway connecting Rimini and San Marino, which was completely financed by Italy. Fascist power seemed to have no remaining rivals. This was reality until 1941-42, when a few socialist leaders returned to San Marino and gave life to a clandestine antifascist movement. Thanks to them, in 1943 the fascist party of San Marino would be dissolved.

It was during the Second World War that San Marino, which remained neutral, became a safe refuge for the inhabitants of the surrounding area. More than 100,000 people requested and obtained asylum. The refugees were housed in buildings, churches and railway tunnels.

Subsequently, the railway tunnels were home to many of the over 100,000 refugees who fled to San Marino during the war. In fact, historic photos attest makeshift dwellings and red lines drawn on the tunnel walls. Still visible today, these lines marked the boundaries between one family and another.

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