ITALIAN infrastructure manager RFI has awarded four contracts worth a total of €2.7bn for the installation of ERTMS on 4220km of routes throughout Italy.

Work will include the installation of ETCS Level 2 to eliminate lineside signals and is being financed under the Italian government’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR).

The first lot covering the Centre North area and 1885km has been awarded to a joint venture led by Hitachi Rail STS, and also including ECM, Mermec, Infratech Consorzio Stabile and Atlante. The contract value is €1.3bn.

The Centre South lot covering 1400km has been awarded to Alstom Ferroviaria for €900m.

A joint venture led by Mermec and including Salcef as principal will install ERTMS on 530km in the Centre lot, under a contract worth €323m.

The final South lot covers 405km where work will be undertaken by a joint venture led by ECM, and including as principals Eredi Giuseppe Mercuri, Morelli Giorgio, ESIM and Guastamacchia. This contract is worth €251m.

The four lots follow a €500m framework contract awarded to Hitachi Rail, Alstom Ferroviaria and Ceit, covering the installation of ERTMS on 700km in Sicily and the Lazio, Abruzzo and Umbria regions.

RFI says that these contract awards will help meet the PNRR objective of equipping 3400km of the national network with ERTMS by 2026. In the longer term, RFI expects its entire network to be operating under ERTMS by 2036.

ERTMS is expected to deliver reliability, punctuality and capacity benefits. Optimum regulation of train speed, acceleration and braking should also reduce energy consumption and deliver environmental benefits.

According to Italy’s minister for sustainable infrastructure and mobility, Mr Enrico Giovannini, extending ERTMS to the conventional network “will improve the safety and quality of services for the benefit of those who use the train on a daily basis,” making it possible to operate more frequent services on existing infrastructure.