ITALIAN builder Fiat Ferroviaria has added a two-car diesel trainset to its family of tilting Pendolino trains. Built speculatively at Fiat’s own cost, the train began trials in November 3, initially on the line between Savigliano, site of the Fiat factory, and Cuneo.

Two years ago Italian State Railways planned to order a fleet of 52 diesel Pendolini from Fiat, but a decision to put the contract out to open tender has delayed progress. Fiat is meanwhile hoping that an initial tranche of 16 sets will be ordered shortly as FS has allocated the necessary funding.

Routes on which FS envisages deploying diesel Pendolini include Firenze - Siena and Taranto - Reggio di Calabria. Another destination could be Sardinia where FS is conscious that there is a need to improve services following abandonment of 25 kV 50Hz electrification in 1993.

Both cars of the diesel Pendolino have two horizontally-mounted automotive diesel engines supplied by Iveco, each delivering a UIC rating of 294 kW to a three-phase alternator. Electrical equipment is supplied by Parizzi, and for the first time, the design makes use of small, axle-mounted synchronous motors with permanent magnets and integrated final drives; all axles are powered. FS has yet to endorse this arrangement. Other equipment is based on the tried and tested designs used on other members of the Pendolino family.

In the meantime Fiat has delivered the first three ETR480 trainsets to FS. These are designed to accept 25 kV 50Hz that will equip the Roma - Napoli and subsequent high speed lines, but the 25 kV equipment will not be installed in the trains until later.

Contracts awaited

Fiat’s biggest prize would be to scoop the order from Virgin Trains for more than 55 tilting trains for Britain’s West Coast main line. When tenders closed on November 24, Fiat and its partner GEC Alsthom faced a rival bid from Adtranz. Fiat’s Antonio Amoruso said in mid-November that this would be ’the most important tilting train contract of all time’. The situation is extraordinarily reminiscent of the mid-1970s when a fleet of APT tilting trains was envisaged for exactly the same route and services.

Fiat has already signed heads of agreement for two 11-car sets for Great North Eastern Railway services between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh, with an option for six more. In practice, signing of the contract will have to await the outcome of the Virgin contract, as GNER stands to benefit from a cheaper price if the order can be tacked on to the West Coast build.

Negotiations are also under way to convert the option for 23 Type S220 sets in a contract with Finnish State Railways to a firm order. In the meantime Fiat has received a letter of intent for three three-car units for 3 kV DC operation from Slovenian Railways to work services from Ljubljana to Maribor and Trieste. There is also an option for more sets with this contract. Still awaited is confirmation of an order for seven trains for Malaysian Railways, with an option for 15 more.

Current production at Breda’s Pistoia plant includes TAF double-deck EMUs for FS and the Nord Milano Railway, metro cars for Roma Line A and, as part of the Trevi consortium, 3 kV DC 25 kV AC ETR500 power cars for FS. Pistoia is also building LRVs for Boston and San Francisco and metro cars for Los Angeles; to comply with Buy America legislation, Breda has facilities for final assembly in Harrison, New Jersey, and San Francisco.

Apart from the Los Angeles metro cars, based on stainless steel bodyshells supplied by Adtranz Portugal (formerly Sorefame), most vehicles currently under construction at Pistoia feature aluminium construction. The TAF cars are assembled from welded and machined Alusuisse extrusions; two prototypes have been delivered to FS and the first unit for FNM was nearing completion on November 19, with delivery of the first production trainset scheduled for mid-January.

Breda is building 10 three-car units for the extension of Roma metro Line A, and deliveries are now under way. With full-width inter-car gangways, the first trainsets with AC drives to be ordered by Roma have GTO inverters.

Mer Mec is supplying an infrastructure recording vehicle to Jernbaneverket of Norway, which is expected to begin trials before the second half of 1998. Based on a 26m Breda ETR500 bodyshell and riding on Fiat bogies, the vehicle will be powered by two Cummins engines driving Voith hydraulic transmissions. Maximum speed when self-propelled will be 160 km/h, but the vehicle can be hauled at up to 200 km/h.

Developed to Jernbaneverket specifications for operation at temperatures as low as -40?