The tender is divided into three lots. Lot 1 comprises up to 150 3kV dc medium-capacity EMUs for regional services with an initial firm order for at least 47 trains, all of which must be delivered within 72 months of contract signing.

Lot 2 covers up to 300 3kV dc high-capacity EMUs with a minimum guaranteed order of 39 sets for delivery within 72 months, while Lot 3 comprises up to 50 DMUs with no minimum order specified.

If all options are exercised the total value of the three lots could reach €4.5bn. A sizeable chunk of this - €760m - will be spent on 96 new trains for the region of Emilia Romagna, where Trenitalia and Emilia Romagna Passenger Transport (TPER) recently won a contract to operate regional rail services for 18 years from 2018.

The tender documents refer to direct investment by Trenitalia, which has committed to competing for future regional tenders with new rolling stock, reflecting the government's call to improve service quality for regional commuters.

The deadline for tenders is September 30 and a number of suppliers have already expressed an interest in bidding, including AnsaldoBreda, Alstom, Bombardier, Siemens, CAF, Pesa, Škoda Transportation, Stadler, and Talgo.

Most of these suppliers are already active in the Italian rolling stock market. AnsaldoBreda is currently delivering Vivalto double-deck regional coaches and TAF EMUs. Bombardier has supplied more than 750 E464 locomotives to Trenitalia, while Stadler Flirt and GTW trains are in service with a number of operators. CAF's ETR563 Civity EMUs have recently entered service on regional lines in Puglia and Friuli Venezia Giulia while Alstom is delivering Jazz EMUs to Trenitalia, and Pesa DMUs have recently entered service in Tuscany and Puglia.

Following investment in 50 Frecciarossa 1000 high-speed trains, Trenitalia is now focussing its attention on renewing the regional fleet. By the time this process is completed in 2022-2025, Trenitalia's oldest trains will be less than 20 years old but almost 50% of the fleet will be less than 10 years old.