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Napoli-Afragola high speed railway station named 2018 Surface Travel Awards finalist

Surface Travel Awards recognize the most thoughtfully conceived new projects at the intersection of travel and design, raising awareness of the crucial benefit of design as a means to improve our lives as we explore the world around us.

Listed by the BBC as one of the best new buildings of the past year: “Napoli-Afragola, a striking new station for Italy’s expanding high-speed rail network, writhes up and over eight railway tracks, connecting once-divided outer suburbs of Naples… its spectacular, snake-like bridge expressing the dynamism of Italy’s 300kph railways with ingenious structural engineering throughout its dynamic architecture. While its sinuous structure appears seamless, the station is also a powerful symbol of how, economically, southern Italy can develop.”

Built as southern Italy’s key interchange station to serve 4 high speed inter-city lines, 3 inter-regional lines and a local commuter line when fully complete in 2022, Napoli-Afragola will meet the future demand for rail travel throughout the region which has increased by 50% in the past decade.

When all lines are operational, 12 million passengers will use the station each year. 28 high-speed trains serving each direction stop at Napoli Afragola daily. A further 200 regional and local train services will call at Napoli Afragola daily – making Afragola an intermodal hub, relieving congestion in the city centre.

Designed as an urban public bridge connecting the communities on either side of the railway, the station is defined by the circulation routes of embarking, alighting and connecting passengers.

The design enlarges the public walkway over the eight railway tracks to such a degree that this walkway becomes the station’s main passenger concourse – a bridge housing all the services and facilities for passengers, with direct access to all platforms below.

“This extraordinary station is the work of a great architect and of enormous strategic value,” explained Gioia Ghezzi president of Ferrovie dello Stato Italian state railways. “We wanted to build a station not only for transit but which, over time, will be a source of renewal for the south, creating jobs and growth.”

“Every great country needs great projects that are a leap forward,” said Italian prime minister. “With this inauguration, we send a message that Italy is moving, the country is growing. Here is a wonderful combination of artistic and engineering expertise.”

Photograph by Vincenzo De Stefano