SBB placed a €200m order for the 250km/h multi-system trains in July 2012, exercising an option from a contract for seven trains signed in March 2004 by Alstom and Cisalpino, the now defunct joint venture between Trenitalia and SBB.

The seven-car trains will seat 430 passengers and will operate alongside the existing sets on Milan – Geneva/Basle and Milan – Zürich services from December, replacing SBB's unreliable ETR 470 Pendolinos, which will be withdrawn.

The use of ETR 610s on the Gotthard route will only be a temporary measure as the trains are due to be replaced from 2019 onwards by new EC250 EMUs recently ordered by SBB from Stadler.