FS Italiane, Snam and Hitachi Rail signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which aims to convert part of the current FS Italiane train fleet from diesel to natural gas, as part of promoting sustainable mobility in Italian public transport. The agreement sets out the launch of a pilot project to convert one or two diesel-powered Fondazione FS Italiane railcars into more advanced LNG or CNG models. After a feasibility study, the companies will extend the scheme to a larger number of trains.
The trains powered by natural gas will be at the forefront of sustainable tourism and will transport the thousands of tourists who choose to take a slower journey to discover the most evocative places in the Italian provinces, along the approximately 700 km of railway which the FS Italiane Foundation operates. Moreover, a possible replacement of 100 trains would lead to savings of approximately 2.5 million euros per year on fuel costs.
Gianfranco Battisti, CEO of FS Italiane, said: “Environmental, social and economic sustainability is the fundamental value that drives all the Group’s activities and will be one of the pillars of the business plan we are developing. This Memorandum confirms the importance of encouraging sustainable mobility starting from tourism, which is growing at a very fast pace in Europe and Italy intercepts a large part of these flows. Many people reach tourist destinations by train, the ecological means par excellence, and over 85% of passengers choose regional transport. For this reason, the Business Plan that we will present envisages a 6 million euro investment for 600 new Rock and Pop regional trains.”
Snam CEO, Marco Alverà, also commented: “Together with FS Italiane and Hitachi, we start promoting sustainable natural gas mobility in Italy also for trains. LNG and, in the near future, liquefied biomethane has a huge potential to be used widely for rail transport in addition to road and maritime transport, thanks to significant environmental and economic benefits it brings. This initiative cements Italy’s position as the sector leader in Europe.”
Maurizio Manfellotto, CEO of Hitachi Rail Italy and Group COO Service & Maintenance of Hitachi Rail, added: “This Memorandum of Understanding confirms our important partnership with the FS Italiane Group. We are proud to support one of our major customers not only through the supply of trains but also, and in an increasingly important way, by offering them services and maintenance with a view to whole life asset management, developing technologically advanced solutions that generate benefits for the customer and for the community.”