THE European Commission (EC) has approved, under state-aid rules, a €300m Italian government programme to support rail operators and fleet owners to install ERTMS equipment onboard trains and locomotives.

Support will take the form of direct grants and is expected to cover 40% of the total cost of upgrading Italy’s legacy fleets, which are equipped with SCMT, to ERTMS. It will run until December 31 2026.

RFI signed an agreement with Hitachi, Mermec, Progress Rail and Alstom to install ERTMS technology onboard six train types used on conventional Italian lines in January. A further contract with the operators of the remaining 95 train types equipped with SCMT will also be awarded.

Italy is aiming to install ERTMS across its national network by 2036. Italian Rail Network (RFI) awarded five contracts worth a combined €3.2bn to install ERTMS Level 2 Baseline 3 equipment on 4920km of lines in 2022.

  • Centre North area (1885km, €1.3bn) - a joint venture led by Hitachi Rail STS, and also including ECM, Mermec, Infratech Consorzio Stabile and Atlante
  • Centre South (1400km, €900m) - Alstom Ferroviaria
  • Centre (530km, €323m) - joint venture led by Mermec and including Salcef as principal
  • South (405km, €251m) a joint venture led by ECM, and including as principals Eredi Giuseppe Mercuri, Morelli Giorgio, ESIM and Guastamacchia, and
  • Sicily and the Lazio, Abruzzo and Umbria regions (700km, €500m framework) - Hitachi Rail, Alstom Ferroviaria and Ceit.

The objective is to equip 3400km of the national network with ERTMS by 2026 and the remaining network by 2036. The work is financed by Italy’s National Plan for Recovery and Resilience.