ITALY: The first electro-diesel version of the Flirt multiple-unit family was unveiled at Stadler’s Bussnang plant in Switzerland on June 15, two years after the Valle d’Aosta region awarded a €43m contract for the supply of five units and the provision of five years of maintenance.

The Flirt3 units are scheduled to enter service on the Aosta – Torino route in May 2018. Bimode operation will remove the need for passengers to change trains at Ivrea to reach Torino Porta Susa station, where diesel operation is not permitted.

Each articulated unit will have three passenger cars plus the diesel power module. Stadler said the lightweight aluminium bodies provide an 18 tonne axleload which is ‘unique among bimode regional trains’. The interior has 159 seats in one class, 16 tip-up seats and space for 154 standing passengers at 4/m2. There is a TSI-PRM compliant accessible toilet.

The units will be rated at 2 600 kW with a maximum speed of 160 km/h when operating from 3 kV DC electrification, and 700 kW with a maximum speed of 140 km/h when powered by the two Stage IIIB compliant Deutz TCD 16.0 V8 diesel engines.

There is provision to add up to two more cars if required to meet an increase in ridership. Two more engines could be added, or the diesel module removed if only electric operation is needed.

Speaking at the unveiling of the first unit, President of the Valle d’Aosta Autonomous Region Pierluigi Marquis said the delivery of the new trainsets and infrastructure improvements to reduce journey times would be a significant step towards improving the accessibility and competitiveness of the area.