The Italo or the “Ferrari Train” as it is more widely known is the work of Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV), a company that Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Ferrari’s president, founded back in 2006 when the European Union liberalized the train market.
On April 20, the first of 25 Italo trains took to the tracks on a trip from Rome’s Tiburtina station. While NTV is not Ferrari, the design DNA does seem to be there: the aggressive styling, all the red, and the luxurious interior (complete with leather upholstery of course) – and the train is really, really fast. The Italo is designed to travel at the impressive speed of 225 mph. The company has been coy on the top speed, but it appears to use the same engineering as the AGV, which registered a 357 mph in 2007.
It looks great, but the environmental credentials are worth mentioning as well. The materials used in construction are 98 percent recycled. The NTV models weigh 10 percent less than their AGV cousins. That – combined with the an aerodynamic design that reduces drag by 15 percent — makes for a substantially reduced power demand. The company expects to save 650,000 kWh on 310,000 miles of annual travel. Designers also took acoustics into account, and built a train that can provide the same level of “acoustic comfort” at 225 mph as the competition does at 186 mph.
In terms of price, things don’t look too bad. For around $60 you can get a comfortable leather seat for the two-hour trip from Rome to Milan (about 360 miles) in “Smart Class.” That time, incidentally, is comparable to what you’d spend getting there by plane. If you prefer not to mingle with the common folk, $480 gets you into a four-person, semi-private cabin. There are also options for cellphone-free carriages in first class.
The Italo goes into service from April 28.