Italian State Railways (FS), will be the operator of the fastest ever high-speed service in Europe, once the latest Frecciarossa series begin running. The new trains, designed and built in Italy are a development of the “Frecciarossa 1000” – but maybe the Ferrari of the rails is a more fitting epithet.
Saying that they will be the “fastest ever high-speed trains in Europe” – you have to bear in mind that’s comparing them with the ICE trains, TGV, and ts derivatives. Hitachi, as the successful bidder, in partnership with Bombardier were also involved directly with the world’s first high-speed trains – the “Shinkansen” in Japan.
This week (4th June), FS, placed an order for 14 of these new trains in a composite contract with Hitachi and Bombardier, worth €575 million, which includes a 10-year maintenance agreement. Each train is 200 metres long, and designed to operate at up to 360 km/h, carrying 460 passengers. Other facilities include onboard Wi-Fi, a meeting room and bistro area.
High-speed rail across Europe continues to expand, and the current breed of tilting trains across Italy are certainly eyecatching. Back in 2017, the Venice bound Frecciarossa was captured at Verona, just as the ETR 610 in Swiss livery was on its return trip westbound for Geneva. Verona is on the route of the designated high-speed corridor between Milan and Venice, so perhaps when the deviation and infrastructure works between Brescia and Verona are completed, the ETR1000s may operate regularly on this line.
The original ETR1000 series started life in 2012, but it was not until 2015 that the first 8-car sets were approved for service in Italy, between Milan and Rome, and Torino. They were built then by a consortium of Bombardier and AnsaldoBreda, and in 2015, Hitachi bought Ansaldo.
All 14 of the latest high-speed trains will be built in Italy. They have a reduced noise and vibration characteristic compared to previous models, with a very low environmental impact, generating only 28 micrograms the CO2 emissions per passenger/kilometre. On top of this, it is claimed that the materials used in the building of this new gereration is close to 100%.
The Bombardier/Hitachi partnership is also bidding for the UK’s own high-speed train order – for the HS2 project – and recently released an image of what the design could look like.
Of course, both Hitachi and Bombardier are lready involved in the UK, be it new builds, or support and maintenance, including the Class 800 series of trains, now running n the GWR main line and on the East Coast Main Line. These are all derived from Hitachi’s “A-Train” concept, and have been very successful, although restricted to a maximum of 125mph. (With ETCS and in cab signalling, the max line speed is increased to 140mph).
But even the latest Class 800/2 “Azuma” designs running in LNER colours on the East Coast Main Line, still have a bit of ground to make up on Frecciarossa 1000.