You may or may not know that the Vatican has it’s own train station. There was also the “Vatican City State Railway“. On the south side of Vatican city, there is an elevated rail line that crosses Via Aurelia. Just after it crosses the Via Aurelia, it reaches the Vatican walls, where there is a large steel door. Here is a nice satelite view in Google, with a view of the track leading into the Vatican Station, and here is a view in Google Maps.
For years, the line has had very little use. “Pope Pius XI never traveled on the line himself and his planned papal train was never built. It was Pope John XXII who became the first pontiff to travel on line, using the Italian presidential train, in 1962. He made the trip between the Vatican City Station and Assisi. Pope John Paul II also traveled on the line in 1979 and 2002.”
However, on May 21, 2011, a 1930’s steam engine with five passenger cars will leave the Vatican City Station “for a trip to the Italian countryside.” The name of the train will be called “Caritas Express” and will be used as a fundraiser for the Holy See’s official charity called Caritas.
I sure wish that I was going to be in Rome for this awesome event. Tickets are still available. If you are interested in making a donation and requesting a seat, just eMail firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read the whole story here. And if by chance you are in the area, or plan to ride the train, PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE, send me lots of good pictures!