The history of the railway line between Pistoia and Porretta Terme has its roots during momentous years in Italy's history. It was established between the wars that led to independence and the Unification of Italy. The first project for a rail road intended for public transit dates back to 1845, when brothers from San Marcello, Bartolomeo, Pietro and Tommaso Cini, obtained authorisation from the Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopold II to carry out the necessary research. This led to the signing of an agreement for the construction of the "Central Italian Railway", intended to link the Austrian railway system with the Tuscan network, bringing together five pre-unification states: the Empire of Austria, the Papal State, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Duchy of Modena and the Duchy of Parma.
Owned by the Kingdom of Savoy and then by the newly created Kingdom of Italy, the Porrettana was inaugurated in 1864 and became the main axis of communication between north and south-central Italy. It played a central role during the Great War and until the 1930s, when it was overtaken by the Prato-Bologna expressway.