Milano metro system opened its first line in 1964, and it currently comprises five lines serving 111 stations. The metro system is owned by Metropolitana Milanese SpA (MM) and operated by Azienda Trasporto Milanese (ATM), or Milano municipal transport authority.

ATM also oversees the operation of other transport systems, including three heavy rail commuter lines, 120 tram, trolleybus and bus routes.

In addition, ATM also manages parking at its stations and interchanges, and controls on-street parking in the historical city centre and commercial districts.

Milano Metro modernisation project details

Most of the tram routes criss-crossing the city are gradually being superseded by the more technologically advanced light rail, in a rolling programme that will eventually eliminate the 420-strong tram fleet, which has an average age of more than 50 years.

The three existing lines were expanded and two more lines were developed. Funding came from the €1.06bn allocated for light rail development by the central government in June 2000.

The expansions included taking Line M1 (red) to the New Exhibition Centre, Line M2 (green) from Famagosta, in the south-west of the city, to Abbiategrasso and expanding Line M3 (yellow) in two phases, from Zara northwards to Maciachini, and later by a further 4km to Comasina.

The 13km-long Line M5 (purple) with 19 stations between Bignami and San Siro is the first automatic metro line in Milan. It was later extended by 7km from Garibaldi to San Siro in the west.

Infrastructure

Fixed rail installations on the Milano Metro network are managed by ATM, which has developed a sophisticated series of integrated data processing systems. These collect data on the state and deterioration of the tracks and give notice of any potential unforeseen problems.

“In addition to these control functions, an Automatic Train Operation system is installed which helps control the precise stopping points of trains at stations and reversing manoeuvres in the termini.”

The metro system extensions incorporate new safety measures, including segregation from the road network using long, grassed reservations.

Rail is laid on concrete, using resilient fastenings to minimise noise and vibration. Floating slab track is installed where the routes pass near buildings, with the concrete placed on a resilient mat.

Rolling stock

In contrast to the original tramway lines, which are served by a fleet of 420 trams each an average 50-years-old, the new light rail routes are serviced by one of the most modern and successful designs of rolling stock.

A fleet of 20 seven-section Adtranz Eurotrams has been constructed by the same plant in Derby, England, as the original Eurotram order for Strasbourg, France.

Each Eurotram is 34m-long and carries 270 passengers in an air-conditioned interior. The units boast large areas of a low floor for ease of access and each single pneumatic sliding door incorporates a retracting ramp, which is automatically extended at stops. The lack of under-seat obstructions also provides easier access.

ATM ordered 15 new Leonardo trains from Hitachi Rail Italy for the M2 line in March 2016.

Signalling and communications

ATM introduced a new control system with the aim of imposing the latest technology on a network, which was designed to 1960s safety standards.

It sends non-stop information on the position of each train to the control centre, which adjusts signals accordingly to ensure train flows are kept regular.

A new information system has also been installed on the trains operating on Line 3 to inform drivers and station operators of the status of on-train equipment.

An automatic train operation system helps control the precise stopping points of trains at stations and reversing manoeuvres in the termini.

The control system features another safety system that automatically decelerates trains that exceed the ruling speed over track-fitted speed detectors. Signals at road-tram junctions are phased so that trams are given priority.

A new telecommunications system improves security at stations. Help points are fitted and monitored by closed-circuit television from the main control centre.

Future expansion of Milano Metro

ATM’s future direction is governed by its aim of making public transport increasingly competitive and increasing its share of all journeys made across the city.

ATM evaluated a Smartcard-based fare collection system, which is valid across the city’s other transport modes, promoting seamless travel between them, and further enhancing its aim of increasing its market share.

ATM introduced contactless payment cards in Milano metro in June 2018. It has collaborated with Mastercard and Visa to enable EMV technology in the cards.

Line 4, a new line under construction, will be 15.2km-long, fully automatic underground metro railway with 21 stations. It will run from the west to the east, creating a link between Linate Airport and San Cristofore railway station.