Some 100,000 people have marched along an Alpine valley in Italy in protest at a high-speed rail line, which will link the French city of Lyon to Turin. Schools, shops and a large number of businesses were closed in support of the demonstration in the Susa valley. Local residents say the area is already choked by transport infrastructure, with a motorway, two national roads and a rail line.
One of the village mayors says there is a second possibility – the old train line. The TGVs which used to run on it were cancelled because there were not enough passengers, she said. Some people have claimed asbestos has been found in the mountain range where the tunnel is being dug. “They are putting asbestos and uranium in our valley,” said one protester.
“If they want to make money they will have to go elsewhere.” The Lyon to Turin link is a key part of a planned network of high-speed railways across Europe, estimated to cost some 12.5 billion euros. Work has begun on the new tunnel, which is just south of the Frejus crossing. The line should be in operation by 2018.