Mercitalia Fast. Photo: Mercitalia

Mercitalia launches high-speed freight train

Mercitalia, the freight arm of Italian State Railways (FS) has announced the launch of the first high-speed freight line, called Mercitalia Fast. The service will connect Caserta and Bologna, starting operations in October this year.

The freight train journey will take three hours and twenty minutes, at an average speed of 180 kilometres per hour. Trains depart form Caserta Marcianise and Bologna Interporto terminals in both directions. “The service is designed to transport time sensitive products, in short and defined times, for customers such as express couriers, logistics operators, producers, distributors and real estate developers, and can be tailor-made”, FS stated.

ETR 500 train

“With the new Mercitalia Fast service we will use the high speed/high capacity network for freight transport”, highlighted Marco Gosso, Chief Executive of Mercitalia Logistics. “Our goal is to offer a tailor-made service to customers who need to deliver goods quickly, reliably and on time. Today we are the only railway company that can guarantee this business. We plan to extend the offer to other terminals in main Italian cities reached by the high speed network: Turin, Novara, Milan, Brescia, Verona, Padua, Rome and Bari.”

Goods will travel on board an ETR 500 train. This train comprises of twelve cars with a transport capacity equivalent to eighteen lorries or two Boeing 747 Cargo airplanes, FS explained. The trains will be specially equipped for the transport of roll containers, and will be easy and quick to load, unload and stow. “With the operation of Mercitalia Fast, carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by eighty per cent compared to traditional road transport.”

First year of operations

Mercitalia was launched in January last year, when Italian railway company merged its freight and logistics operations. The operating results of the first year of Mercitalia were revealed last week. For the first in the history of Italian Railways freight business, positive cash flows of 40 million Euros were generated in 2017, the company said.

Mercitalia has signed contracts for the supply of 125 new electric locomotives, ten shunting locomotives and over 300 last generation wagons for combined and conventional transport, in addition to agreements for the development of logistics in Italy and abroad.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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