ALSTOM is reported to have preferred bidder status in the competition to supply rolling stock to Italian open access high speed operator Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, but the supplier is unable to confirm this, saying only that the company has been shortlisted. The French company is offering its AGV trainset with distributed power.

Alstom submitted a bid to NTV on March 25 this year, offering to build 25 trains of 11 cars, with an option for 10 more sets. The price of the contract is reported to be €650m. Other bidders are understood to be Siemens, proposing a version of its Velaro train derived from the German ICE3, and Bombardier, whose bid is based on its Zefiro concept.

In 2004 Alstom decided to build a seven-car prototype AGV trainset at its own expense – a decision which has apparently been vindicated. The prototype is due to emerge from the Alstom plant in La Rochelle at the end of this year. Alstom had already experimented with distributed power when it built two AGV research vehicles in 2001 which were tested with five TGV cars in the Elisa test train.