THE Blues train built by Hitachi Rail for Trenitalia, recently exhibited at InnoTrans 2022 in Berlin, is to enter service in Sicily, making it the first tri-mode (battery, diesel and electric) train in regular passenger operation.

Hitachi has a framework agreement with Trenitalia to supply 135 Blues trains with a total value of €1.2bn. Of that order, 22 of the trains are planned to run in Sicily.

The Blues train is equipped with a new generation of hybrid technology: it can draw power using a pantograph on electrified lines, operate in diesel mode on non-electrified lines and use batteries on non-electrified lines or while stopping at stations to reduce fuel consumption.

Switching off the diesel engines and using battery power during arrival, stopping and departure from stations achieves a 50% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared with conventional diesel trains, as well as helping to reduce noise pollution.

The four-car Blues train can reach a maximum speed of 160km/h with an acceleration of 1.1m/s2 and can accommodate up to 300 people. It is equipped with an innovative air-conditioning system that optimises air flow according to the number of passengers onboard.

The Hitachi Rail tri-mode Blues train being exhibited at the InnoTrans 2022 trade fair in Berlin back in September. Picture: IRJ

Other features are USB and 220V power sockets, large windows, areas for bicycles and high luggage capacity. Accessibility from station platforms is optimised in accord with the EU Technical Specification for Interoperability for Persons with Reduced Mobility (TSI PRM) and the number of internal steps has been minimised.

The Blues train has been designed with sustainability in mind, and is 95% recyclable. Many of the materials used in construction are recycled and onboard equipment is designed to minimise energy consumption, including the LED internal lighting system.

“The Blues train is a great technological challenge that we are proud to have undertaken,” says Hitachi Rail’s executive director of the vehicles business for Italy, Mr Andrea Pepi. “Regional transport is crucial in the decarbonisation 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 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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