posted on 6th Apr 2023 12:00
Hitachi Rail in Berlin presented the triple-power hybrid single deck train Blues for Trenitalia. The class designation is HTR.312 for the three-car version and HTR.412 for the four-car version, the letters stand for Hybrid Treno Rapido. The trains share some of their design, as well as some components and features, with the Rock double-deck EMUs, a representative of which, the five-car version of the class ETR.521, was on display at InnoTrans 2018.
A tender for 43 hybrid units with an option allowing the number to be increased to a total of 135 was launched by the operator in 2017. In mid-2018, Stadler was awarded the tender, followed by Hitachi Rail Italy and Alstom; CAF's bid came fourth in the scoring. Subsequently, Trenitalia invited Stadler and Hitachi to modify their bids and the key parameters of the trains, where only the price per vehicle and price per service were evaluated. After evaluating these bids, Trenitalia selected Hitachi Rail Italy with a price of 1.23 billion EUR.
Both Stadler and Alstom filed separate appeals to the Lazio Administrative Court, accusing the operator of having unfairly favoured Hitachi. However, the court dismissed both complaints in 2019, followed by further appeals in 2020. As a result, Hitachi Rail was awarded the contract for the first 43 HTR trains destined for the regions of Sardinia (8), Sicily (17), Valle d'Aosta (4), Lazio (3) and Tuscany (11). However, additional units from the framework contract for a total of 135 vehicles are currently being delivered, some of which are also going to the Calabria and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions. Production takes place at the Pistoia, Naples and Reggio Calabria plants.
The Class HTR.312 unit has a length of 66.88 m over the couplings, a Bo' 2' 2' Bo' axle arrangement and non-powered bogies of the Jakobs type. The train has a traction power of 1,680 kW in the EMU mode and of 1,170 kW when running hybrid on batteries or using a diesel.
The Class HTR.412 has a length of 86.08 m over the couplings and one more non-powered bogie. Traction power is set at 1,910 kW in the electric mode and 1,330 kW in the battery or diesel mode. Both versions have a bodyshell width of 2,800 mm, a top speed of 160 km/h when running under 3 kV DC and 140 km/h in battery or diesel mode. The BORDLINE M200 traction equipment is supplied by ABB, as is the liquid-cooled BORDLINE ESS traction battery with a 33 kWh capacity. The diesel power is provided by two MTU engines, each with an output of 736 kW, meeting Stage V emission requirements. The trains are fitted with Hitachi Rail's ETCS OBU.
The three-car version offers 224 seats and place for 165 standees, while the four-car version offers 306 seats and place for 224 standees. Lighting is provided by LEDs, the interior is monitored by CCTV and covered by a WiFi signal. Electric sockets and USB charging ports are available for the passengers. In addition, there are spaces for luggage and bicycles in the cars, and people with reduced mobility can use the multi-purpose area and the wheelchair-accessible toilet.
The first completed unit, HTR.412-001, was transported from Hitachi's Pistoia plant to Italcertifer's test centre in Osmannoro (near Florence) in November 2020. During the trials, the same unit visited the Czech VUZ Velim centre in spring 2021. At the end of May 2022, HTR.412-004 and 009 were transported to the depot in Cagliari, Sardinia. Following tests carried out in Sicily with the unit delivered in August 2022, the Class HTR.312 started passenger service on 20 December 2022 on the Palermo - Termini Imerese line, on a short section which is part of the Palermo - Messina line. The operational range of the units was then extended to Messina and then to the Messina - Siracusa line.
A train of the Class HTR.412 was unveiled at Santa Maria Novella station in Florence on 21 December 2022. And on 28 February 2023, the first unit of the new type also appeared on the Calabrian lines, when HTR.412-015 arrived in Reggio Calabria, in the southernmost part of the Italy; then on 10 March 2023, it made its first test run to the north-eastern town of Catanzaro Lido and back.