New High-Speed Trains to Launch in Italy Next Weekend

In another strong vote for Europe's train industry, the continent's first privately owned high-speed train will start service this coming weekend.

A consortium led by Montezemolo (which also owns Ferrari cars) and businessmen Diego Della Valle (Tod's), Gianni Punzo and Giuseppe Sciarrone has invested $1.3 billion into the new trains, which will be dubbed NTV (Nuovo Transporto Viaggiatori). Trips between Rome and eight other Italian cities will begin on April 28, and the company is aiming to get 25 percent of Italy's high-speed train market by 2014. What's more, they're looking to break even in the same year, and attract 8 to 9 million passengers per year by then, Reuters is reporting.

The 450-seat NTV trains, dubbed Italo and painted red, gold and gray, use high-speed AGV cars built by French transport and power engineering group Alstom.

The AGV is quieter and cheaper to run than its predecessor the TGV and has 20 percent more passenger space because its motors are placed under each car, instead of in locomotives at either end. They can easily reach speeds of 186 miles per hour.


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