The history of the Lugano-Ponte Tresa railway (FLP)


 Established at the beginning of the last century, the Ferrovie Luganesi SA (FLP) was meant to promote the development of the region and to facilitate the communications between the city of Lugano and its neighbourhood.

The company, which received the Federal Concession, was founded with the help of some local personalities: Agostino and Giuseppe Soldati, Luigi Balestra and the mayor of Ponte Tresa, Pietro Tognetti. The construction work was completed in just 18 months and the railway became operational on the 5th of June 1912.

Immediately, the railway gave proof of being an important element of development. However, until the 1950s, it suffered a series of financial difficulties, because of the two World Wars and the general economic crises. At a later stage, thanks mainly to the introduction of laws that assured financing and deficit cover, the company was able to completely renovate its infrastructures. This was also possible due to the encouraging development of passenger traffic, at a time, when other regional railway lines were being forced to close down. From the 1970s, with the introduction of the clock-face schedule, the modernization of the trains and the addition of automatic ticket machines, the railway became more similar to a city-railway connection. Its relevance grew constantly, thanks also to better coordination with other means of transport, above all to the integration of postbus stops at the train stations of Ponte Tresa, Magliaso, Agno and Bioggio-Molinazzo.

In the year 2000, the introduction of a clock-face schedule with trains every 15 minutes during workdays and the purchase of passenger carriages with a lower floor that offered greater transportation capacity and easier access to the vehicles, led to a considerable improvement of the services offered. Currently, a transformation into a tramline servicing the entire area of Lugano, with terminal stations in Manno, Cornaredo and the Scairolo plain, is being studied.

100 years in overview


  1. 1877-1912

    1877

    Lawyer Leone De Stoppani files an application to the Federal Railway Office, asking for a concession to construct a standard gauge railway line between Lugano and Ponte Tresa.

     15th January  1910

    Foundation of the company Ferrovie Luganesi SA, with a share capital of CHF 800’000.-, later increased to CHF 1’430’000.-. Honorary president is Agostino Soldati and president Giuseppe Soldati.

    1910-1912
    Construction work on the railway. In the end, the total costs will amount to CHF 2’750’000.-

     2nd June 1912
    Official inauguration of the railway in the presence of Federal Councillor Giuseppe Motta, National Councillors Giuseppe Cattori and Evaristo Garbani-Nerini, as well as State Councillors Giovanni Rossi, Sebastiano Martinoli and Emilio Bossi. The railway is blessed by Monsignor Tartini.

  2. 1922-1964

    1922
    Reorganization of the company and reduction of its share capital from CHF 1’430’000.- to CHF 858’000.-, as well as approval of a guarantee by the Canton for the payment of the interest on its first and second grade mortgage bonds.

    1949
    First subsidy of CHF 500’000. – from the Swiss Confederation and the Canton (50% each), based on the Railway Law of 3rd April 1936. This subsidy is used for the purchase of a new railcar and the new routeing of the track section between Colombera and the terminal station of Ponte Tresa.

    1951
    Increase of the share capital from CHF 858’000. – to CHF 960’000.-

    1964
    Construction of the new track section between Bioggio and Crespera, after the completion of the motorway.

  3. 1970- 1994

     1970 – 1973
    Extensive restructuring programme realized in accordance with the Swiss Confederation and the Canton, based on Article 56 of the Federal Railway Law of 20th December 1957. The total investment of 2.9 million Swiss Francs concerns the renewal of the rails, the construction of a new contact line and the introduction of an automatic track block system, to guarantee the operational safety. Share capital is increased by CHF 240’000. – to CHF 1’200’000.-. In 1976, the Canton and the Swiss Confederation assume the additional expense of CHF 970’000.-, incurred by the railway company during restructuration work.

    1978
    Introduction of the clock-face schedule with trains every 20 minutes and renewal of the Ponte Tresa train station.

    June 1994
    Thanks to an agreement between the Canton and the Swiss postbus company, bus stops are introduced at the FLP train stations of Ponte Tresa, Magliaso, Agno and Bioggio. An ACTL/FLP/PTT mini-fare network is also created, which allows passengers to buy a single ticket for the access to all three transport companies in the Malcantone region.

    1993-2000
    Different restoration work at the Lugano train station and along the track.  

  4. 2001-2012

    2001
    Construction and inauguration of the new stop Molinazzo in Bioggio, intended to improve connections with the postbus services.

    2003
    Construction work at the Agno train station (renewal of the rails and enlargement of the central pavement).

    2nd December  2007
    After completing the work necessary for doubling the rails between Magliaso and Caslano, the development of the train stations of Magliaso and Cappella Agnuzzo, as well as the renewal of the safety system (track block system) a clock-face schedule, with trains every 15 minutes is introduced.

    2012
    Celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the railway and inauguration of the new FLP Museum in Ponte Tresa.