The FS Group at Innotrans: Blues and Nikrasa 3.0. Innovation and sustainability for passengers and freight

Trenitalia’s Blues hybrid train is presented – set to hit the tracks at the end of the year

Rome, 21 September 2022

An 8-billion-euro plan to render Trenitalia’s fleet one of the youngest and greenest in Europe sees the début of the new Blues hybrid train and Version 3.0 of the Nikrasa system, an innovative solution for loading semi-trailers onto rail wagons quickly and without investments in the terminals. This is a big boost to the modal shift of freight traffic from road to rail. At Innotrans, the international trade fair for technology and transport underway in Berlin, the FS Italiane Group led by CEO Luigi Ferraris presented some of the excellences and innovations for passenger and freight transport in Italy and Europe, with which FS aims to realise its vision of sustainable and integrated mobility.

“The arrival of the Blues,” declared Luigi Ferraris, CEO of the FS Italiane Group, “will contribute – together with the deliveries of the new Rock and Pop trains – to making our regional fleet one of the youngest in Europe, with an average age of seven.”

This new train – built by Hitachi Rail for Trenitalia, the company in charge of the FS Group’s Passenger Hub – is hybrid, having a triple power supply (electric, battery and diesel). The Blues will hit the Italian tracks by the end of the year, with its début set to take place in Sicily and Sardinia. Then in 2023, the Blues will begin circulating around Tuscany, Lazio, Calabria and Friuli Venezia-Giulia. Thanks to its triple power supply, the Blues will reduce fuel consumption by 50% and lower CO₂ emissions compared to current diesel vehicles. A green train that is 95% recyclable and with the possibility of entirely dedicating space to children and families, marking a true revolution in regional rail transport in Italy.

There are 110 Blues on the way, as part of Trenitalia’s broader fleet renewal plan for regional transport. The 2022–2031 Business Plan for the Passenger Hub envisages 15 billion euro in investments to promote collective and integrated transport. Of this, 8 billion is earmarked for renewal of the Regional trains. The Innotrans showcase was also an opportunity to present the two new trains produced by Siemens and Stadler for Netinera, the transport company of the FS Group’s Passenger Hub in Germany.

Intermodality also in freight transport. The Logistics Hub of the FS Italiane Group aims to be a system operator and, with 2.5 billion euro in investments, to double the share of freight transported by rail, in line with the 10-year Business Plan.

“The key word is integration,” explains FS CEO Luigi Ferraris, “meaning integration between ports, roads, railways and airports. We as a group must progressively go from being rail freight carriers to system operators, adopting a structured approach that allows us to intercept streams of freight in the European playing field.”

At Innotrans, FS presented Version 3.0 of the Nikrasa system of Tx Logistic (a company in the Mercitalia Hub) that loads onto rail semi-trailers that cannot be lifted by crane. Given that 90% of semi-trailers cannot be lifted, Nikrasa will contribute to the modal shift in favour of long-distance rail transport and to less bulk in the terminals. In Version 3.0, this system boasts a much lighter semi-trailer transport base that allows even more freight to be transported by rail.

Furthermore, thanks to the bottom-up lifting system, all semi-trailers can travel on rail, even those with a chassis. The lifting base does not add any height to the trailer, so it is transported with the same authorised bulk and can travel all European routes, including tunnels, without any modifications.