Italy grapples with Siberian cold front

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Schools were shut down and travelers struggled with delays and cancellations on Wednesday as Italy grappled with a Siberian cold front that plunged the peninsula into subzero temperatures, ice and snow since the beginning of the week.

Schools have been shut down due to weather alerts in cities from north to south, and fresh snow is expected in Rome, which woke up under a layer of white on Monday morning for the first time since 2012.

Trenitalia train company said it could guarantee up to 80 percent of its high-speed trains and up to 70 percent of its regional trains after chaos ensued Tuesday, when some travelers told reporters they were stuck for up to 9 hours, local media reported.

The transportation debacle drove publicly owned Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) CEO Renato Mazzoncini to apologize, telling La Repubblica paper in an interview out Wednesday that the company will invest 100 million euros in de-icing technology to make sure the rail network keeps functioning in extreme temperatures. “Mistakes have been made, which we won’t make again,” Mazzoncini told La Repubblica.

“We owe the passengers an apology. When you’re stuck on a train for 7 hours there’s not much you can say, except that you’re sorry, and equip yourself to make sure this never happens again,” the CEO said.

Passengers who gave up on their travel plans or who experienced delays of more than three hours will be reimbursed, Sky TG24 reported the train company as saying.

Italy is expected to face more snowfall and record low temperatures until the end of the week, according to televised reports.

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