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Rome's Repubblica metro station finally reopens after 8 months of repairs

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Rome's Repubblica metro station finally reopens after 8 months of repairs
You can finally get out at Repubblica once more. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
11:34 CEST+02:00
One of Rome's central metro stations is finally open again, 246 days after it was closed due to an accident on one of its escalators that left dozens of passengers injured.

Passengers were surprised to find the Line A stopping at Repubblica on Wednesday morning after eight months of trains skipping the station, which lies between Rome's Opera House and Termini train station.

Few people believed it would happen, commuters told La Repubblica.

Travellers had become resigned to not being able to exit either at Repubblica or the adjacent station, Barberini, which has now been closed for just over three months since one of its escalators also malfunctioned. 

For a while the next stop, Spagna by the Spanish Steps, was also closed, leading to jokes that the council was planning to create "the world's fastest metro" that would run between the two end stations without making a single stop.

Spagna has since reopened, but Barberini is set to remain closed for another four months. On top of the inconvenience for passengers, local business owners say the closure is costing them money and are threatening to sue Rome's city hall and public transport company Atac for more than a million euros in compensation.

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Atac drivers went on strike on Tuesday to protest what they say are hazardous working conditions in the metro, including at Barberini – where unions claim that so much fine dust pollution was dislodged during repair works that it covered the entire platform. 

Repubblica was closed in October 2018 after one of its escalators malfunctioned, dramatically picking up speed and sending passengers flying. Some people became tangled in the end of the walkway, with one person reported to have lost a foot. 

READ ALSO: More than 20 injured in Rome metro escalator collapse

While the incident was originally blamed on a large group of Russian football fans who reports said were jumping up and down on the escalator, witnesses disputed those accounts. The malfunction at Barberini five months later also suggested a wider problem with the infrastructure in Roman metro stations.

The escalator in question at Repubblica remains closed even now, with four of the station's six walkways in operation. Workers have apparently spent the past eight months carrying out preventative maintenance on the other escalators at risk rather than repairing the broken one.

More disruption is on the way: Atac has scheduled major engineering works on the Line A, the busiest of Rome's three metro lines, throughout the month of August that will see entire sections closed off for days at a time.

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