ITALIAN Rail Network (RFI) has selected Stadler and Mermec to supply five new diagnostic trains under a contract worth around €130m.

RFI says the turnkey contract is the first of its kind and will involve Stadler and Mermec delivering vehicles already equipped with onboard diagnostics technologies that will inspect track, electrification, and signalling and telecommunications systems across the entire 16,700km Italian railway network.

Approval and commissioning of the three-car bi-mode vehicles, which are compatible with ERTMS, is scheduled for 2020.

The procurement is part of RFI’s wider €585m diagnostic fleet development project. The project includes the procurement of 15 bi-mode diagnostics vehicles, three K12 diagnostics vehicles and the supply of seven new trains that will offer ultrasound measurement of rails and tunnel diagnostics.

Two refurbished mainline diagnostics vehicles - Aldebaran 2.0 and Diamante 2.0 - were delivered earlier this year.

RFI says its mobile diagnostics service will support the timely identification and elimination of infrastructure anomalies through the optimal scheduling of routine maintenance activities. RFI is set to harness the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, big data, artificial intelligence, and automation technologies as part of this transition.