ETR 500

ETR 500

ETR 500 ("Elettro Treno Rapido 500") is a family of Italian high-speed trains introduced in 1993.

Designed under the aegis of the Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), it is now operated by Trenitalia on RFI tracks. Because most of the Italian high-speed network is still under construction, these trains often run at speeds lower than the 300 km/h at which they were designed to run.


Although Italy was already a pioneer in high speed trains in the 1930s, it was not until the 1960s before the first high speed lines were being studied on. The opening of the Direttissima line, connecting Florence with Rome, in stages between 1978 and 1991 was also a very first in Europe.

In the 1990s FS finally unveiled plans to build a whole new high speed network. As the larger part of the network would be suited for speeds of 300 km/h, new, non-tilting trains had to be designed as the tilting equipment used in the ETR 450, 460 and 480 Pendolino series was not suited for speeds of over 250 km/h.

The new train was to be built by the TREVI ("TREno Veloce Italiano", "Italian Fast Train") formed by Ansaldobreda, FIAT Ferroviaria (later Alstom), Bombardier Transportation Italy and Firema Trasporti.

The prototypes

In 1988 the first prototype motorcar, called "ETR 500-X" and nicknamed "Remo", rolled out of the factory in Vado Ligure. It was tested on the Direttissima in the consist with a measuring car and an E 444 locomotive and reached a record speed of 319 km/h.

In 1990 the 2 first complete trainsets, called "ETR 500-Y" and nicknamed "Romolo" were delivered. They were used as test units between their delivery and 1995, when the first production sets entered into service.Between 1995 and 1997 they were also used in normal commercial service when there was a shortage of normal ETR.500 trainsets.

The 3 motorcars of the prototype sets are stabled at different locations in Italy and have unfortunately been vandalised and graffitized. The middle cars of the 2 "ETR 500-Y" sets are now part of the two RFI ETR.500 test trains Y1 and Y2.

First generation

Infobox EMU
name = ETR.500 (mono-current)

imagesize = 200px
caption = ETR.500 mono-current powercar at Roma Termini.
Manufacturer = Trevi (consortium of Alstom, Bombardier, AnsaldoBreda)
Operator = FS/Trenitalia
Formation = 11-car trainset
Built = 30 trainsets
InService = 1992-2007
Refurbishment= 2006-2008, transformation into E.414
Power= 8800kW
SafetySystem = RS4, SCMT
CarLength = 327.6 m (trainset)
Weight = 598 t
Capacity = 187 (1st class)
469 (2nd class)
MaxSpeed = 300 km/h
Gauge = 1,435 mm
Voltage = 3000 V DC
After the success of the 2 prototypes, FS decided to order 30 mono-current trainsets. Delivered between 1992 and 1996, with interiors styled by design company Pininfarina, they consist of 2 motorcars (numbered E 404 100 to 159), four 1st class cars, a restaurant car, and six 2nd class cars. Although suited for driving 300 km/h, they were limited to 250 km/h on the Direttissima as the current drawn from the catenary at 300 km/h would be too high. This was also the reason why a second generation, dual-voltage trains was ordered.

Major routes of this train were Chiusi-Milan, Florence-Naples, Milan-Rome Termini, Milan-Naples, Bologna-Rome Termini, Milan-Salerno, Milan-Venice, Venice-Rome Termini.

Between 2006 and 2008, all motorcars of the first generation trains are being refurbished and transformed into locomotives of the type E.414, and will haul EuroStarCity trains on selected routes. These trains consist of two E.414 locomotives and 10 former Intercity UIC-Z coaches. Although the coaches are "normal" Intercity coaches, they will mostly remain in semi-permanent coupled formation with the two E.414 locomotives.

The middle cars of the first generation trains will be coupled to new E.404.6 dual-voltage motorcars.

econd generation

Infobox EMU
name = ETR.500 (bi/tri-current)

imagesize = 200px
caption = ETR.500 "AV" at Milano Centrale.
Manufacturer = Trevi (consortium of Alstom, Bombardier, AnsaldoBreda)
Operator = FS/Trenitalia
Formation = 11-car trainset (ETR.500 P)
8-car trainset (ETR.500 F)
Built = 30 complete trainsets , 60 motorcars (for former mono-current sets)
InService = 2000-2005
Power= 8800kW
SafetySystem = RS4, SCMT, ETCS (+ KVB and TVM430 for ETR.500 F)
CarLength = 327.6 m (trainset)
Weight = 598 t
Capacity = ETR.500 P:
187 (1st class)
469 (2nd class)
ETR.500 F
136 (1st class)
268 (2nd class)
MaxSpeed = 300 km/h
Gauge = 1,435 mm
Voltage = 3000 V DC, 25000 V AC (+ 1500 V DC for ETR.500 F)
With the new high-speed lines finally in construction, FS chose to electrify the lines at 25kV instead of 3kV as used on the classic network. This allows the trains to drive at their top speed of 300 km/h, as 3kV is technically limited to 250 km/h operation. As the first generation trains can not operate off 25kV AC, new trains had to be ordered.

The new motorcars of the trains feature a totally different design than the first generation trainsets, although also designed by design company Pininfarina. These new trains, delivered between 2000 and 2005 consist of 2 motorcars , four 1st class cars, a restaurant car, and six 2nd class cars.

The second generation trains can be divided in multiple sub-series:
* ETR.500 P (with motorcars numbered E.404 501-560): trainset built as new.
* ETR.500 P (with motorcars numbered E.404 601-660): motorcars built as new with cars from the former mono-current trainsets.
* ETR.500 F: trainsets designed to operate in France. These sets were tested in 2003 and 2005 on the LGV Nord line between Calais and Lille, with trainset 24 setting a record speed of 335 km/h. Despite the tests the sets still aren't approved to drive in France. These sets have only 8 cars instead of 11 of a normal set, and are composed as following: three 1st class cars, a restaurant car, and four 2nd class cars.

ee also

*Treno Alta Velocità
*Rete Ferroviaria Italiana
*New Pendolino
*Eurostar Italia
*High-speed rail in Turkey


*"Der italienische Hochgeschwindigkeitszug ETR 500 (1. Auslieferung)". [ Hochgeschwindigkeitszü] (German)
*"Der italienische Hochgeschwindigkeitszug ETR 500 (2. Serie)". [ Hochgeschwindigkeitszü] (German)

External links

* [ TAV]
* [ European Railway Picture Gallery]

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