Italo high-speed train offers touch of Ferrari

It’s bright red, has plush seats, a great stereo and can roll over the Italian countryside at more than 227 mph.

If your guess is a new Ferrari, you’re not completely wrong. Italian company Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV) recently inaugurated its new super train service in Italy.

With its sleek, aerodynamic design, upscale interiors and blazing fast speeds, NTV’s new Italo trains was designed by train maker Alstom, and one look at it and easy to see the influence of one of NTV’s owners, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Ferrari’s chairman.

It’s no surprise then that the new Italo train is built on the same technology behind the world’s fastest train.

Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori is Europe’s first private sector operator in high-speed rail.

Formed when the European Union liberalized its rail policies, NTV’s initial fleet of 25 trains will service the Naples-Rome-Florence-Bologne-Milan corridor with the schedule extending to Salerno, Turin and Venice by the end of the year.

While Italy has long been a pioneer in high-speed rail, the new NTV Italo trains up the ante significantly and position the rail company to compete directly with airlines for in-country Italian travel.

Aside from their striking looks, the trains are innovative from front to back. The Italo trains were designed to reduce impact throughout the operating life of the train, from the initial stage of production to the final stage of recycling. The train is 99 percent built with recyclable materials, such as aluminum, steel, copper and glass. The use of materials resistant to deterioration gives Italo an operating life 15 percent longer than other trains, meaning one of more than 30 years.

Thanks to the use of composite materials, more effective traction systems and an extended architectural configuration, the Italo uses 10 percent less energy compared to a traditional train with equal performance levels. This means an annual saving of approximately 650,000 kWh, on a distance of 500,000 km.

But it’s not just the train’s environmental attributes that are attractive. This is one sweet ride. Inside it boasts a quieter, smoother ride, bigger aisles with larger reclining leather seats and more natural lighting. To while away the travel time, Italo trains will feature tunnel proof wifi connectivity, a cinema car, TV, and in-seat meals.

Like airlines, the trains will offer tiered pricing, featuring Club, Prima and Smart levels. A trip from Rome to Milan in the Smart class will cast approximately $60, while the same trip will run up to $480 in a private Club Salon.

Steve Duda, EarthTechling