New high-speed rail service to launch in Italy

20 Mar 2009 by Sara Turner

Passengers in Italy will have a choice of which high-speed rail service they take in the future. Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV) plans to launch the new Italo train on key intercity routes, in competition with the state-owned Eurostar Italia Alta Velocitá.

NTV is the first privately-owned high-speed train operator in Italy. Its new product, Italo, will launch in 2011 on the following routes: Turin-Milan-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples-Salerno; Rome-Florence-Bologna-Venice; and Rome-Bari. The new Italo logo, which will appear on the trains, was released this week.

There will also be a non-stop Milan-Rome service which will take three hours, departing three times a day in both directions. By 2015 Italo hopes to be serving 30 thousand passengers a day.

Eurostar Italia (no relation to the Channel Tunnel’s Eurostar service) currently operates its Freccia Rossa (“Red Arrow”) high speed services between several Italian cities, including Turin-Milan, Milan-Bologna, Florence-Rome and Rome-Naples. Between Milan and Rome the journey on Freccia Rossa currently takes 3 hours 30 minutes.

French company SNCF, the first European railway operator to launch high speed rail services, is the industrial partner on the new project. This opens up the potential for Italo to expand into Europe, said Luca di Montezemolo, chairman of NTV.

“The agreement gives NTV the opportunity to become a major player in the European market, which will be completely liberalized for international services from January 2010,” said Montezemolo. “Nevertheless, NTV will remain essentially Italian.”

NTV will be the first rail company to operate a fleet of 25 new ultra high-speed Italo trains, made by French manufacturer Alstom. The new generation AGV (Automotrice Grande Vitesse) is designed to travel at speeds of up to 360 kmph. 

The new trains will provide passengers with 20 per cent more space, plus a 15 per cent reduction in energy comsumption, when compared to current high velocity trains in operation. Some 98 per cent of the materials used will be suitable for recycling. 

The Italo trains will have 11 cars with a total capacity of 460 seats and will travel on the Italian rail network at 300kmph. The interior design of the trains will be designed by Italdesign-Giugiaro.

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Report by Sara Turner

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