First Tri-Mode Train Enters Passenger Service in Europe

Trenitalia’s ‘Blues’ battery hybrid train has begun operating in Sicily, making it the first tri-mode train to enter passenger service in Europe.

The train can reach a maximum speed of 160 kilometres an hour with an acceleration of 1.10 meters per second squared. The four-car composition has a passenger capacity of 300.

The Blues train, Europe's first tri-modal train, enters passenger service
The Blues train, Europe’s first tri-modal train, enters passenger service

Built by Hitachi Rail, the regional tri-mode train was first unveiled to the public at InnoTrans 2022 this September.

Trenitalia has ordered 135 of these trains in a contract valued at 1.2 billion EUR (1.27bn USD). A total of 22 will operate in Sicily.

Thanks to its hybrid power options, the Blues train has the ability to travel using diesel engines on non-electrified lines, pantographs on electrified lines, and batteries for the last mile on non-electrified lines or while stopping at stations.

As well as reducing noise pollution, the train’s ‘smart parking’ switches off the engines during its arrival, stop and departure from stations, helping the Blues train to halve fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to Trenitalia’s current diesel trains.

Designed with sustainability in mind, the train’s materials are also 95% recyclable and onboard technologies minimise energy consumption.

For example, the air conditioning system optimises energy use based on the number of passengers on board.

Andrea Pepi, Executive Director Line of Business Vehicles Italy, Hitachi Rail said:

“The Blues train is a great technological challenge that we’re proud to have undertaken.

“Our goal is to deliver innovations that translate both into higher quality travel for passengers and benefits for the environment, ultimately delivering value to our customers.

“Regional transport is crucial in the decarbonisation process, so we’re aware of our role in achieving this important milestone which brings benefits to the world.

“We hope that with the Blues train, starting today in Sicily and soon in other Italian regions, we can significantly mark the transition from individual to mass mobility, which is greener and safer.”

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