Marconi Express, the monorail connecting Bologna airport to the central station, a project by Iosa Ghini Associati, was inaugurated on November 18, 2020
Bologna is the first city in Italy provided with a monorail that directly connects the airport to the city center. People Mover – this is the name of the Marconi Express infrastructure – is formed by the monorail, the two terminals, Aeroporto and Stazione FS, and an intermediate station. The intermediate station, Lazzaretto, also houses the depot-garage, with the centralized traffic control.
Iosa Ghini designed the architectural structure of the monorail and stations, integrating technology with the landscape of the Po Valley. The train runs from the station to the airport, crossing an urban periphery, towards the countryside. Electricity flows through the rail, which is an important element for the lightness of the design, as it eliminates the need of an overhead power line. The railings protecting the train and the walls of the stations are made with a white painted steel grid, which gives lightness and facilitates the insertion into the landscape.
Supporting pillars are inspired by the typical Bologna arches, while the stations ideally recall the traditional houses of the Po Valley. The bridge over the A14 motorway, designed by Iosa Ghini as well, is perhaps the most challenging part of the project. The maximum span of the deck is 95 meters, where it crosses the 12-lane motorway with 4 emergency lanes, and is designed for a maximum height of 250 meters.
A contemporary and sustainable work
The railway line is 5,095 meters long, on a monorail resting on 125 pillars of variable height between 5.2 and 18 meters, with spans ranging from 30 to 40 meters. The supporting structure is only 130 cm thick, underlining the overall lightness of the work, compared to the landscape. Marconi Express is fully automated and works with the city’s trolleybus power supply network (750 V). Photovoltaic panels integrated in the structure generate about 35% of the energy needed to operate the train. The steel grid that delimits the stations ensures natural ventilation and lighting, resulting in energy savings.
Marconi Express has three carriages, making it possible to transport up to 560 passengers per hour per direction. If traffic increases, it can have up to four carriages to increase the capacity. The monorail route includes a safety walkway with escape routes every 500 meters.
Concept and architectural project
Iosa Ghini Associati
General project coordination
MATE Soc.Coop.va-STS Spa
Station structures and viaduct substructures
Studio Matildi + Partners
Intamin and Inautec
Other pictures of the Marconi Express with the People Mover structure