Italy’s first, private, high speed train has been unveiled.
The company behind the Punto Italo claim it will shrink journeys across the country, with trains travelling up to 300 kilometres an hour.
The trains will have full wi-fi connections and broadcast live TV pictures to passengers.
A new private high-speed train service is set to begin operating in Italy from September 2011, the company owning the project, Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV), announced Tuesday.
The fleet will be made up of 25, 11-coach trains, capable of reaching a top speed of nearly 360 kilometres per hour, said NTV Chairman Luca Di Montezemolo, who also heads sports car manufacturer Ferrari.
Dubbed the “Italo,” the AGV-model high speed trains have been purchased from the French-based company Alstom and are under construction at plants in La Rochelle, France, and Savigliano near Cuneo in north-western Italy.
“NTV will be the first operator in the world to use this type of train which assures exceptional performance in speed, comfort and respect for the environment and safety,” Montezemolo said at a news conference in Rome.
NTV will use the Italian state-controlled railway company Trenitalia’s existing high-speed tracks to reach nine cities: Turin, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples, Salerno, Venice and Padua.
Travel times are set to be similar to those of Trenitalia: Rome- Milan in under three hours, Milan-Turin in 50 minutes, Bologna- Florence in 37 minutes and Rome-Naples in an hour.
But according to Montezemolo, NTV aims to distinguish its service by offering advantages such as Wi-Fi internet and live television via satellite connection.
The 1-billion-euro (1.24-billion-dollar) project, is a “great sign of the vitality” of entrepreneurship, at a time when the country’s economy has yet to recover from recession, Montezemolo said.
NTV has invested 90 million euros in a maintenance centre in Nola, near Naples in the economically struggling southern Campania region.