Alstom unveiled the latest high-speed Pendolino trains at its Savigliano plant in Italy, due to be delivered to UK rail operator Virgin Trains in the next few weeks. The company also took the wraps off its first very high-speed AGV.italo trains, soon to be delivered to new Italian rail operator Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV).
Virgin Trains has been running services on Britain’s West Coast Main Line since 1997 and has come to set the standard among train companies in the private sector. NTV is preparing to launch its services in Italy following recent deregulation and is Europe’s first privately owned operator of very high-speed trains. The two companies both chose Alstom as their industrial and technical partner to launch train services in their domestic market.
Virgin Trains currently operates 53 Pendolino trains in the UK, designed and built by Alstom at its Savigliano site and maintained through its UK service centres. In 2012, three new trains and 62 more carriages will be added to the Virgin fleet. The fleet has covered 175 million kilometres to date and last year carried over 28 million passengers, twice as many as seven years ago.
NTV placed an order with Alstom for 25 brand new very high-speed AGV trains in 2008, which are due to enter service in early 2012 on the Turin-Salerno route (via Rome and Naples) and Venice-Rome line. The order involves a number of Alstom Transport manufacturing sites, with 17 trains built at the La Rochelle site in France and eight being manufactured in Savigliano. Elsewhere in Italy, the Bologna site—which specialises in signalling—is handling ERTMS/SMCT and the Sesto San Giovanni plant, near Milan, is providing traction systems.
At the presentation of the new trains, Henri Poupart-Lafarge, President of Alstom Transport, accompanied by Tony Collins, CEO Virgin Trains, and Giuseppe Sciarrone, MD NTV, recalled the experience that Alstom has gained through 30 years in the sector of high and very high-speed trains. « The unique position that Alstom holds on the global market is a result of its product offering, which is the most complete, ( articulated and non-articulated trains, tilting rains, single and double-deck), as well as the knowledge of different markets and the needs of our customers and also the capacity, thanks to our local presence, to provide maintenance of our trains during their whole life cycle », he said.
Giuseppe Sciarrone emphasized « the huge innovation which is the introduction of competition on the very high-speed network and the challenge of a new train. The experience of NTV, now ready for commercial service, is awaited with great interest and will be studied carefully in other countries. Meeting such a challenge in such a short time frame would not have been possible without the enormous experience in high speed and the technological reliability of Alstom, who has produced these ultra modern trains.”
Tony Collins added : « Our customer service success at Virgin Trains over the last 14 years has been heavily dependent on the relationship with our key partners. Alstom has consistently gone beyond the call of duty to help us achieve the performance that has attracted record customer numbers and customer satisfaction scores. We are grateful for that support and partnership. The additional Pendolino trains and carriages will enable us to add thousands of extra seats to our services which is great news for passengers, who love the Pendolino”.
With sales of €5.6 billion in 2010-2011 and a workforce of 25,000 people, Alstom Transport is the world’s leading name in high-speed and very high-speed train solutions. Alstom is also the number one exporter of high-speed and very high-speed technology worldwide, having sold more than 550 very high-speed trains (TGV and AGV) and over 450 Pendolino trains around the globe. Alstom has supplied more trains operating at speeds of over 300 kph than any competitor on any continent, with 560 trains running in nine countries. Morocco is the most recent country to have chosen the TGV, ordering 14 Duplex trainsets in late 2010. High-speed Pendolino tilting trains operate in eleven countries—Italy, China, Germany, Spain, Finland, Portugal, Czech Republic, UK, Russia, Slovenia and Switzerland—and were recently ordered by Poland.