Trenitalia puts new regional Blues train into passenger service in Sicily, Italy

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Italian rail operator Trenitalia is set to put a new hybrid train called Blues, built by Hitachi Rail, into service in Sicily, Italy, with the train becoming the first ever tri-mode to enter passenger service in Europe.

Blues is equipped with a new generation of hybrid technology: the train can travel with diesel engines on non-electrified lines, with pantographs on electrified lines, and with batteries, where applicable, to travel the last mile on non-electrified lines or while stopping at stations, avoiding the use of fuel.

Batteries also help to further improve normal power performance. Switching off the engines during the arrival, parking and departure from the stations allows 50% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to current diesel trains as well as helping to reduce noise pollution.

The Blues train offers high levels of comfort to passengers: it is equipped with an innovative air conditioning system that allows optimization of consumption based on the actual number of passengers on board, USB and 220v power sockets for greater connectivity. It also has large windows, bike areas and high luggage transport capacity.

The trains can reach a maximum speed of 160 km/h and can accommodate up to 300 people seated in the four-cars composition.

The Blues train has also been designed with green solutions including: high levels of recyclability (95%) in the materials; the use of raw materials coming from recycling; on-board technologies that minimize energy consumption, such as the internal and external LED lighting systems; the smart air conditioning system; and the use of Smart Parking.

Andrea Pepi, executive director, line of business vehicles Italy at Hitachi Rail, said, “The Blues train is a great technological challenge that we are proud to have undertaken. Our goal is to deliver innovations that translate both into higher quality travel for passengers and benefits for the environment, and ultimately deliver value to our customers.

“Regional transport is crucial in the decarbonization process, so we are aware of our role in achieving this important milestone which brings benefits to the world. We hope that with the Blues train, starting today [December 20] in Sicily and soon in other Italian regions, we can significantly mark the transition from individual to mass mobility, which is greener and safer,” Pepi added.

The total Blues framework agreement with Trenitalia includes the supply of up to 135 trains worth €1.2bn. For Sicily, 22 of the trains will travel in the region.