The ETR 250 from the 1960s will ride again on Italian tracks

Rome, 17 July 2019

During the presentation of the hub dedicated to the development of tourism in Italy, the FS Italiane Group showed what it has done to stimulate growth in this sector in our country. This included adding to what is available relating to classic trains, given the record figures in 2018: 80,000 people bought a ticket to travel on board a historic train so as to discover the most fascinating and evocative places in Italy.

Amongst the new developments this year will be the return to the tracks of the Arlecchino (ETR 250) electric train, while in 2020 the restoration of the Settebello train will also be completed.

The ETR250, which was created in the 1960s as a development of the Settebello, entered service on 23 July 1960, at the time of the Rome Olympics, and did its inaugural journey from Bologna to Venice. It was the symbol of well-being amongst the Italians, and of economic recovery. The seats were enveloping and comfortable, the walls were covered in vinilpelle, the panels and the carpets had a wide range of pastel shades (which led to the “Harlequin” name), which were carefully chosen by the FS organisation and the contract was given to the Breda company in Sesto San Giovanni.

The only example remaining of the ETR 250 group of trains has been moved from the shed used for the former presidential train at Roma Termini to Porrena, in the province of Arezzo, to be restored by a private industrial firm, where new convertors made with the latest modern technology will be fitted to supply the on-board equipment, air-conditioning units, lighting and to recharge batteries. 

Figures for "slow tourism" 

From 2014 to 2018, twelve railway lines dedicated to slow and gentle tourism have been reopened along the length and breadth of Italy.

Amongst the favourite destinations for tourists is the National Railway Museum of Pietrarsa, one of the largest exhibition areas in the world and one of the most important centres for railway culture in Europe, which had 170,000 visitors in 2018. In 2019 restoration began at the Trieste Campo Marzio Railway Museum. And the restoration of the Settebello train will also be completed in 2020.

There has been very rapid growth in tourism on board classic trains: from 2014 to 2018, 275,000 Italian and foreign tourists opted to travel on them for pleasure and relaxation. In the same time frame, the museum at Pietrarsa welcomed over 400,000 visitors.