Naples: Life, Death & Miracles  © 2002-2017       contact:     Jeff Matthews  
home & index 1     -->  2
 welcome 
 sitemap
portals
map
other
eyes of
venues
photos/
audio

history
ErN
museums
sardinia
link to a Google search page HERE

main index   © Jeff Matthews    entry Oct 2014

Period Postcards from Naples
      1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
 9
10
11
 12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
here
21
22
23
24

postcard # 20 -
I
cheated by looking at the name of the vessel (not visible on the front of the card). There is a photo exhibit on the history of rail transport currently running on the premises of the grand Pietrarsa railway museum just outside of Naples. The display items are on loan from the audio-visual archives of the Italian State Railway Foundation. Part of the published text on the display refers to the first train ferry in Italy; that is, a ship designed to carry railway vehicles in roll-on/roll-off fashion. That kind of train ferry has been around for longer than I thought; a so-called "floating railway" went into service in 1850, providing transportation of goods wagons across the Firth of Forth in Scotland. The published text for the Pietrarsa display makes reference to the first such ferry in Italy; it provided service across the straits of Messina between the Italian mainland and Sicily. It was designed by Antonio Calabretta, a naval engineer. Two ships were launched in 1896: the Scilla and the Cariddi (Scylla and Charybdis, the two points on opposite sides of the straits, named for characters in Greek mythology; Scylla is on the mainland, Charybdis on Sicily). They were both paddle steamers. They went into regular commercial service in 1899, at first transporting only goods and then in 1901, passengers as well. The ships had identical specifications: 50.5m long; one track that loaded five wagons; capable of 10.5 knots. Since it seems they are never going to build that bridge for cars over the straits, this is a still a good way to get to Sicily. The latest train-ferry is the "Messina," built in 2013. The card? It is identified as the Scilla, meaning that the card is obviously after 1896, but probably not much, since I understand that the original vessels were replaced after a few years by screw-propeller vessels. (The older ships weren't necessarily decommissioned, though. The Scilla was around long enough to sink after hitting a mine in 1917 in WWI.)

to main index       to urban portal