Relaunching the regional railway system and developing integrated collective mobility are the commitments that the FS Italiane group has taken upon itself with its 2017-2026 business plan. This action gives the priorities set by the Italian government and Ministry for Infrastructure and Transport consistency, and the commitments have taken concrete form with the tenders for the new trains that will replace 70% of the regional fleet by 2021 and will guarantee commuters new travelling experiences, in line with their mobility needs.

Lucchini RS was awarded the supply of the wheelsets for the new Rock train, made and assembled by the company Hitachi Rail Italy. The first model left the factory in Pistoia in mid-April and is now in the Czech Republic for type approval testing. A total of 300 of them will be built. “The order for these brand new Rock trains is the most important in Trenitalia’s history,” explained Ezio Vicari, Lucchini RS Original Equipment Sales Manager. “Taking part in this project is a feather in our company’s cap, an acknowledgement of the technological excellence of our products, the continuation of a history dating back over a hundred years, always marked by ‘Made in Italy’ expertise.” The production, which started up in Lovere last year, will continue for ten years, and “a good 12,000 wheels – equivalent to 6,000 wheelsets – will be delivered to Hitachi Rail Italy.”

The renewal of the Trenitalia fleet, which began with the Swing and Jazz trains, is therefore carrying on while retaining highly innovative characteristics, above all in terms of safety, accessibility and comfort. The new Rock train depicts a generational leap compared to the double deck trains presently running in Italy from the reliability, energy savings and performance viewpoint. The new train is of variable composition, with 4, 5 or 6 bodies, and its total capacity is over 650 passengers (top of the range in the sector), running at a speed of 160 km/h.

The Rock is also a best performer in terms of environmental sustainability. It will guarantee about 30% less specific consumption than the comparable trains on the market today, and its recyclability of materials will top 95%. Because of these characteristics, the new Rock trains purchased by Trenitalia have been admitted to the White Certificates system, which creates incentives for high energy efficiency investments. The purchase of new regional trains is one of the projects funded by FS Italiane with the Green Bond issued for the first time in Europe in November 2017 for €600 million.

“The first 39 Rock trains are going to Emilia Romagna, and those for Veneto, Liguria and Tuscany will follow,” Vicari concluded. And Lombardy? “Trenord invited tenders to purchase new trains to transport commuters in our region, but the outcome has not yet been made official. It is legitimate to believe that Hitachi Rail Italy is the most likely supplier in view of its historic relationship with Trenord and considering that it may propose vehicles derived from the Rock platform within a short while, to then personalise them to better meet any of Trenord’s requirements. In that case, we are confident that the wheels will always be built by Lucchini RS.”

Written by Ezio Vicari

LRS Original Equipment Sales Manager Railway Division