Italy: FdC Orders Additional Narrow-Gauge H2 Trains from Stadler

The Italian rail operator Ferrovie della Calabria (FdC) has ordered a further three narrow-gauge hydrogen trains from Swiss rolling stock manufacturer Stadler.

This order is part of a July 2023 framework agreement signed between the two companies for up to 15 local and regional hydrogen trains for Calabria.

Rendering of the narrow-gauge hydrogen train by Stadler for Italian operator FdC
Stadler’s narrow-gauge hydrogen train for Calabria: exterior

Currently, Stadler is the only rolling stock manufacturer to offer hydrogen-powered narrow-gauge trains. Another operator who has ordered this type of rolling stock from Stadler is ARST (Italy).

This order is the second call-off from the framework agreement, following a first call-off for six units. The 950mm narrow-gauge trains are to enter passenger service in Calabria in 2026.

In addition to the rolling stock, the agreement includes the delivery and maintenance. The vehicles are being manufactured at Stadler’s headquarters in Bussnang, Switzerland.

Ernesto Ferraro, CEO of FdC, said:

“The additional trains ordered from Stadler, with whom we have had a fruitful cooperation for years, are a further investment towards the company's ongoing modernisation. The purchase of a further three hydrogen-powered trains, in addition to the six already commissioned, and the other investments underway, including those for modernising and speeding up the railway infrastructure, renewing the rolling stock on the road, building the hydrogen production plant, and innovating the company's technology and infrastructure, represent the concrete implementation of the company's strategies launched with the ambition to become a modern and sustainable transport company within the next three years. These goals are now possible thanks to the synergy created with the Region of Calabria, the company's sole shareholder, and with the relevant Ministries, which have made available the necessary resources to support the industrial plan that the company is pursuing, and to whom our thanks go.”

The vehicles are made up of two passenger cars and a power pack. They are built of a lightweight aluminium structure, which helps with the trains’ energy usage – lighter = less energy required to move them. The power pack contains the fuel cells and hydrogen tanks along with other technical equipment.

Interior of the narrow-gauge hydrogen trains for FdC
Interior of Stadler’s narrow-gauge hydrogen trains for FdC

Each train measures 50m in length and is equipped with 89 seats, with a total maximum occupancy of 155 passengers. The trains are low-floor and therefore fully accessible. Further, the trains have a toilet that is compliant with TSI-PRM standards.

Aristide Vercillo Martino, FdC's Investment Manager - PNRR - IT, said:

“The project launched in recent years as part of the ecological transition, with a project to use hydrogen as a new fuel for its means of transport, and a total investment of more than 400 million euro, confirms the company's desire to become a leader in regional transport and to provide more services to users, with innovative processes and in line with the objectives that a modern company must set itself. The synergy created over the years with Stadler will make it possible to accelerate the processes initiated to improve rail services in the area.”

Stadler develops both hydrogen trains and battery-powered trains for use on railway lines where overhead lines do not currently exist or are not considered economically viable. In these instances, they are able to replace diesel trains.

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