So what’s the big deal about high-speed rail networks in Europe and at home? Rail Europe brings to you the sixth post in a series of interviews from top executives of high-speed trains for an inside scoop. We’re featuring their inspirational words on our blog about every two weeks for the next several months. At the end of each post, we ask a trivia question and you have 24 hours to answer in our blog comments. From all correct answers, one winner will be selected to receive two complimentary rail tickets on the featured rail company’s high-speed network – up to a $599 value. High-Speed Trivia Sweepstakes, see how fast can you answer!
Read on for the sixth post of our series: Trenitalia’s Head of Sales, Long Distance Passenger Division, Giancarlo Buontempo talks high-speed trains.
How did your railway get started?
Naples – Portici was the first railway line built in Italy, which opened on October 3rd 1839. It was double-track and had a total length of 7.25 km. Talking about more recent times, the very first “fast” tracks in Europe were Italian: “Direttissima” line that connects Florence to Rome (254 km), was built in sections in the period between 1970 and 1992, but it was just one line. With the new century, a high speed project was envisioned and developed: 1,000 kms of lines that connect the most important cities in Italy, from Turin to Salerno, passing through Milan, Bologne, Florence, Rome and Naples. These lines are managed directly by RFI S.p.A. (FS Group S.p.A.). Having high speed and conventional lines makes the network more versatile, modern and interoperable.
On the occasion of the new high-speed (HS) line launch from Milan to Bologna (December 2008), ETR 500 Politensione trains received the name “Frecciarossa”, Trenitalia’s successful brand that embodies comfort, high quality service and fast connections from center to center. With 4 service levels (Executive, Business, Premium, Standard), Frecciarossa trains offer each traveler the journey that he seeks. Our Frecciarossa trains currently travel 80 million km/year. Besides Frecciarossa, we have two other kinds of Frecce (Arrows) trains: Frecciargento, travelling on both HS and conventional lines, and Frecciabianca, for the conventional routes but with high quality services. Intercity and Night trains complete our range of service on the national territory. Additionally, domestically we manage urban, regional and interregional rail services with 7,800 trains/day.
Where do you see the future of your railway 10 years from now?
We see Trenitalia’s Long Distance network continuing to operate passenger transportation, both domestically and internationally, on High Speed lines to major cities. We wish to extend our services throughout Europe with Frecciarossa 1000 trains that will arrive on tracks starting in 2015 and traveling at 360 kms per hour. How do we see the future? Growing, growing and growing! High speed rail is the future. Comfort, efficient time management, flexibility, speed, networking, the pleasure of traveling, no fuss, together with environmental friendliness are the key unbeatable values of our offer.
What can you say to convince an American, Canadian, Mexican to take a ride on one of your trains?
Come experience Frecciarossa, Frecciargento and Frecciabianca trains; they are more economical, comfortable and faster than any other mode of transportation. Looking out of the window, you can enjoy typical Italian landscapes and, thanks to on-board meal services, you can have a full taste of Italy! With our Wi-Fi services, you can connect to the web and share in real time your journey. You can fully enjoy your trip even before arriving at your destination.