posted on 9th Aug 2023 14:53
On 9 August 2023 Trenitalia signed a framework contract with a consortium comprising Škoda Transportation and Titagarh Firema SpA (TFA) for the supply of up to 370 carriages for the Intercity Notte night trains connecting the north and south of the country; the total value of the contract could reach up to 732.5 million EUR.
At the same time, a first subcontract worth 138.59 million EUR was signed for 70 carriages - 22 of which will be DeLuxe, 44 Comfort and 4 Economy. The cars are to be in service from June 2026.
Originally, the tender for the cars in question was announced on 3 June 2022, but ended on 3 March 2023 with no result. Subsequently, the tender was re-opened and only one participant, the above-mentioned Czech-Italian consortium, applied, whereupon the decision on the result was announced on 23 June 2023.
The PNRR, or Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza (National Recovery and Resilience Plan), is co-financing the project. The total value of the contract was originally estimated at 732,550,000 EUR, the final value of the framework contract is exactly 732,544,026.40 EUR. This includes the amount for the maintenance of the cars, which is an option and has two variants:
- performing full maintenance on Level I and II for 10 years for an estimated amount of 222 million EUR , which can be extended for a further 10 years for a total duration of 20 years; the estimated value of the possible extension for a further 10 years is the same,
- the provision of full logistics services at Level I and II for 10 years for an estimated amount of 133,2 million EUR, which may be extended for a further 10 years for a total of 20 years; the estimated value of the possible extension for a further 10 years is the same.
This maintenance option has not yet been confirmed. Another option is to extend the term of the framework agreement for up to 24 additional months.
The new carriages are intended for night services to/from Sicily, specifically on the Milan - Palermo/Syracuse route. The renewal of the fleet of Intercity Notte trains, which Trenitallia operates under a contract with the State, is linked to the growing popularity of night trains, which has taken place in recent years throughout Europe with the aim of switching to a more environmentally friendly transport. The investment described, or more precisely the first subcontract for night cars, is part of a larger sum of approximately 200 million EUR that Trenitalia will use to purchase night carriages and seven hybrid trains to be used for the Intercity Taranto - Reggio Calabria services.
The DeLuxe cars („Vagone Letto Deluxe“) will be equipped with comfortable spacious compartments, six of which will be singles and two doubles. Each will have its own toilet and shower, and thanks to the solution of air-conditioning, the temperature in each compartment can be individually adjusted. These cars with a capacity of 10 passengers will also include a small kitchen with electric appliances.
The Comfort cars („Cuccette Comfort“) will offer seven compartments equipped with four beds and their own washbasin, a total of 28 passengers. It will also be possible to individually adjust the HVAC power in each compartment. In addition, the cars will also include a larger space for people with reduced mobility and their companions. For them, there will be boarding platforms and a wheelchair-accessible toilet.
The Economy cars („Posto a sedere Basic“) will be open area ones with a 2 + 1 arrangements of seating, with large headrests and individual lighting, with partitions between the two-seat units for increased privacy. A wide aisle will be situated in the car centre, with luggage racks and storage spaces near the entrances. There will be one toilet in each vestinule. All cars will be equipped with state-of-the-art infotainment and audio/video entertainment systems.
Final assembly of the cars will take place at Titagarh Firema in Caserta (a northern suburb of Naples), Škoda Transportation will use its experience of building sleeper cars in Finland at the Transtech plant, as well as the know-how of Molinari Rail Austria, acquired this year, which also covers a new order from ÖBB for the modernisation of six nightjet sleepers.
This is another success for Škoda in the Italian market, where it opened an office in Florence in October 2022 and this July won an order for 10 ForCity Classic trams for TEB Bergamo. Škoda also works with Tesmec Rail, for whose diagnostic vehicles it supplies traction equipment. In addition, Škoda hopes that there will be further cooperation with TFA in the future.
The name Titagarh Firema belongs to the former Firema Trasporti since July 2015, when the Indian company Titagarh entered the latter - at that time it acquired a 90 % stake, and in June 2017 the remaining 10 %. In September 2022, on the other hand, Invitalia, the national agency for inward investment and economic development owned by the Italian Ministry of Economy, entered TFA. Invitalia, one of whose tasks is to promote foreign investment in Italy, acquired a 30.30 % stake in TFA. Thus, Titagarh Firema now has the financial stability it lacked before (similar to Ansaldobreda before it was bought by Hitachi in 2015).
Unlike the ÖBB‘s Viaggio Comfort nightjet rakes, the new Trenitalia cars will not form the non-traction multiple units (NMUs), which is mainly due to the fact that trains running to Sicily must be un/coupled for ferry services between Villa san Giovanni and Messina. However, separate carriages also mean, of course, greater operability in the formation of rakes reflecting current transport demand and are of particular importance in Sicily, where services are split at Messina between the Palermo and Syracuse directions.