Hitachi Italy have just started producing the Rock train, a brand new double decker train to serve the country. But what’s the reason behind its name? Italy’s state-owned rail operator Trenitalia wanted to continue its trend of naming trains after musical genres, existing trains include the Alstom Jazz, Minuetto and the Pesa Swing. This latest development comes after the announcement in June last year when Hitachi, Alstom and Stadler were awarded €4 billion worth of contracts to supply 450 new trains for the region. The Rock train project has been delivered as part of this initiative and will provide 300 trains costing around €2.6 billion. It is composed of five cars, 136m long and 2.8m wide to cater for 656 passengers. These vehicles will travel a top speed of 160kmh. A new mock-up scale was unveiled at the Hitachi Rail Italy plant of Pistoia. The event was attended by Renato Mazzoncini, CEO of FS Italiane, Tiziano Onesti, Chairman of Trenitalia, Barbara Morgante, CEO of Trenitalia, and Maurizio Manfellotto, CEO of Hitachi Rail Italy.
Hitachi Italy was created by the evolution of AnsaldoBreda, one of the most important Italian transport brands with more than 160 years of history in the rail and metro sector. Now the company have a wide range of products ranging from high speed to driverless metros. Among these the best known is the ETR1000, developed in partnership with Bombardier, the very high speed train capable of reaching 350 km/h on the rail network and currently in operation in Italy for FSI-Trenitalia customer. So far, in the field of regional trains Hitachi Rail Italy manufactures the Vivalto, successful example of double-deck vehicle and operating in most of Italy, and the TSR, high-capacity train in operation in Lombardy.
However, the latest Rock Train will offer a new generation of passenger travel. It is characterised by its light alloy carbodies, traction motors distributed along the entire vehicle and wide passengers areas. This will provide a unique performance in comparison to other trains on the market in terms of weight per passenger, transport capacity per length unit and will guarantee different interior fittings according to their customers' tastes. Passengers will be able to enjoy maximum comfort on the ergonomic seats made from eco leather.
This news comes just after the recent announcement that Trenitalia were awarded a ten year intercity service contract which was signed on January 19, 2017. This is exactly what the Italian rail operator needed to hear after the recent financial instability they have faced. Whilst Trenitalia carry 12 million passengers a year it has found the revenue and support payments could not ensure economic sustainability. The national operator said up to 40% of the trains could have been withdrawn if it were forced to run them on a commercial basis. It has been described as an “unprecedented” contract hoped to stabilise the operator. The deal covers the operation of 88 daytime and 20 night trains with an extra 10 at the weekends. Additionally, Trenitalia will have to provide an inter-city network to 90% of the country, reaching all provincial capitals and providing effective connections to the high speed tracks.
For related stories you might be interested in: