Minuetto leads regional revival

INTRO: Styled by Giugiaro Design, the Minuetto is intended to bring a note of elegance to regional services in Italy. Alstom Transport is due to deliver 70 electric and 67 diesel multiple-units by December 2005

ONE OF the most recent additions to Alstom’s Coradia family, the Minuetto is expected to set new standards of comfort for Trenitalia’s regional services when it enters service shortly in the Veneto region. The first train is due to be handed over on May 31. Ridership is expected to increase as passengers will have a much-improved journey experience.

Trenitalia has placed a framework contract for 200 trainsets with Alstom, and so far firm orders have been signed for 137 sets. Trenitalia has ordered 63 EMUs and 61 DMUs, and three regions have placed their own orders. Those ordered by the regions are essentially the same as the Minuettos, but as the term Minuetto was chosen by Trenitalia, they are known as Coradia trains for Italian regions. Trento has contracted for six DMUs, Arezzo for four EMUs, and Salerno for three EMUs. All these and the Trenitalia units should be delivered by the end of December 2005.

A further 12 trains have been ordered separately from the framework contract - two EMUs for Sangritana Railway and 10 EMUs for GTT of Torino.

As well as level boarding and a virtually step-free interior, the Minuetto features air-conditioning and has been designed to produce an interior noise level no greater than 70dB. In terms of both internal and operational noise, Trenitalia believes that the Minuetto will be one of the quietest trains ever built.

Each articulated three-section trainset rides on four bogies, the outer two being powered. Apart from the 40% of the total floor length over the motor bogies where the height is 1250mm, this gives a floor height of 600mm, rising to 800mm over the trailer bogies. There are steps up to the sections over the motor bogies, but 60% of the interior is step-free and a boarding ramp is provided on each side of the middle section for passengers in wheelchairs. There are three doorways per side, each 1300mm wide.

Located in the centre section close to the wheelchair space, the toilet compartment is fully accessible. Close by is a multi-functional space for skis, bicycles and luggage. In each multiple-unit there are 122 fixed and 23 folding seats, and standing room for a further 200 passengers.

Fixed seats are mainly arranged in facing pairs in both classes, with a 220V AC supply provided in each bay for passengers to recharge portable computers and mobile phones. Seat pitch is 1710mm. Passenger information systems include external and internal destination displays as well as automatic announcements, and there are Braille panels to guide visually-impaired passengers. CCTV is fitted to deter vandalism.

With two pantographs on the middle section, the electric version of the Minuetto is equipped with two independent Onix 3000 traction packages. Each package has a continuous rating of 500 kW and feeds two traction motors on each powered bogie. Auxiliary equipment is supplied at 380V AC.

The diesel Minuetto has two independent power packs, each comprising a 560 kW engine and a Voith hydrodynamic transmission. Both axles of the motor bogie are powered.

TABLE: Minuetto in profile

Electric Diesel

Trainset length, mm 51900 51900

Trainset width, mm 2950 2950

Empty weight, tonnes 92 98

Maximum axleload, tonnes 16 16

Rating, kW 1480 2 x 450

Maximum speed, km/h 160 130

CAPTION: The articulated Minuetto trainsets for Trenitalia have a central section in each car where the floor height is 600mm above the rail top Photos M Tolini

CAPTION: Trial running with Trenitalia’s first Minuetto EMU began in January between Trofarello and Asti on the Torino - Alessandria route