Pendolino: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pendolino (from Italian pendolo [ˈpɛndolo] "pendulum", and -ino, a diminutive suffix) is an Italian family of tilting trains used in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, China and shortly in Romania, Ukraine and Russian Federation. It was developed and manufactured by Fiat Ferroviaria, which was taken over by Alstom in 2002.

The idea of a tilting train became popular in the 1960s and 1970s when various rail operators, impressed by the high-speed rail services being introduced in France and Japan, wondered how they could similarly speed up travel without building a dedicated parallel rail network (as those two countries were doing). By tilting, the train could round curves designed for slower trains at higher speeds without causing undue discomfort to passengers.



In Italy various possibilities were explored (including one early design for fixed carriages with tilting seats). A number of prototypes were built and tested, including an automotrice (self-propelled) derived from ALn 668 diesel car and provided with tilting seats. The first working prototype using a tilting carbody was ETR Y 0160, an electrically powered car launched by FIAT in 1969. This was the first to be christened Pendolino.

ETR 401 near Ancona. This was the first Pendolino EMU to enter semi-regular service.

It led to the construction of a whole EMU in 1975, the ETR 401, built in two units by FIAT. One was put into public service on 2nd of July 1976 on the Rome-Ancona (later extended to Rimini) line, operated by Italian State Railways. Between Roma and Ancona (km. 295) the train took 2 hours and 50 minutes while the ordinary trains took 3 hours and 30 minutes. The train had four cars, and was mostly considered a travelling laboratory for the new technology. The second unit was adapted for service to the wide-gauge RENFE Spanish lines.

In 1982 FIAT acquired patents for the tilting bogie used in the ill-fated British project APT. This and other improvements led to the introduction of the more advanced ETR 450, the first Pendolino to enter regular service in the world. Characterized by an 8-car (later 9-car, with the addition of a restaurant coach) configuration, ETR 450 could run the Rome-Milan line in under four hours, at speeds up to 250 km/h. Passenger numbers increased from 220,000 in 1988 to 2.2 million in 1993.

In 1993 the next generation, the ETR 460, styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro, began service. Though plagued by technical teething problems, the ETR 460 introduced several innovations, such as more powerful AC asynchronous motors. Further, the pistons actuating the anti-tilting action were placed in the bogie instead of on the carbody sides: this permitted the reorganisation of the vestibules and passenger compartment areas, improving comfort. The bogie-to-body connection is extremely simple and easy to make, with clear advantages for maintenance. For safety and comfort reasons, maximum tilt was reduced to 8° from the 13° of ETR 450.

ETR 480 in Roma Termini railway station.

ETR 460 keeps axle load to an extremely low level (14.5 ton/axle) to allow the train to negotiate curves up to 35% faster than conventional Intercity trains (loco plus coaches). The body, which exploits large aluminium extrusion technology, has substantial modularity and allows for extremely low axle weight, whilst fully respecting the highest safety standards, and allows the best exploitation of the space with different loading gauges.

ETR 460 was built in only 10 units. Improved versions include ETR 470 for the Italo-Swiss Cisalpino company, and the ETR 480, used by Trenitalia under AC lines such as those in France and Switzerland. A total of 34 EMUs of the ETR 460/470/480 series were built.

FIAT Ferroviaria was sold to the French Alstom company in 2000. The development of the Pendolino technology continued in the Italian factories of Alstom, and the next generation, the New Pendolino, was delivered to Trenitalia and Cisalpino as the ETR 600 and the ETR 610 from 2006.


Even before the first Pendolino EMU was built in Italy, in 1972, Fiat and RENFE signed an agreement for cooperation in tilting-train development. The first fruit of the cooperation was the equipment of a RENFE Class 432 EMU with the active tilting suspension in September 1972. After successful tests, Spanish trainmaker Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles and Fiat built a prototype similar to the ETR 401, which was delivered in 1976 as RENFE Class 443, nicknamed Platanito (Banana) for its yellow livery. The 4-car train had a commercial top speed of 180 km/h, and achieved a then speed record for Spain of 206 km/h on 6 May 1987. However, the train remained a unique specimen, as RENFE favoured the entirely domestic Talgo. After revenue service in 1979-1982, the train was used for charter and test runs.[1]

An Alaris trainset from Madrid Atocha station approaching Silla.

Two decades later, to speed up services along its Madrid-Valencia conventional line, Renfe ordered 10 Pendolinos in 1996. The trains, based on the ETR 460 and ETR 470, were delivered by a joint consortium of Fiat Ferroviaria and GEC-Alsthom from 1998 as RENFE Class 490. The 3-car trains are suited for 220 km/h on RENFE's conventional lines electrified with 3 kV DC. The Class 490 took up the new Madrid-Valencia Alaris services in 1999.[2] With growing demand, the capacity of the Class 490 was no longer sufficient, and from February 2008, the trains were transferred to the Corredor Mediterráneo line between Valencia and Barcelona.

For medium-distance services along its high-speed lines, RENFE ordered a non-tilting variant of the Pendolino, based on the ETR 480, in 2001. The 20 4-car trains with a service top speed of 250 km/h were built jointly by Alstom and CAF, and delivered as the RENFE Class 104. RENFE deployed them for the new Avant services along the Madrid-Seville high-speed line from 29 December 2004.[3]

RENFE ordered another 30 non-tilting medium-distance high-speed trains from Alstom/CAF in a follow-on order[4], which was later reduced to 13 units. However, these trains are based on the New Pendolino design. The first train of the new class designated RENFE Class 114 was presented in autumn 2008.[5]


See also ICE T

The West German federal railways DB experimented with tilting technology in the seventies, but abandoned it. Then in 1987, DB commmissioned a study on whether electrification or purchasing diesel tilting trains would be the better option for the Nuremberg-Hof line, and decided for the latter. In 1988, DB ordered 10 tilting DMUs, and another 10 in 1990. All 20 trains of the new DB Class 610 were delivered in 1992. The two-car trains with a top speed of 160 km/h were produced by a consortium of five German companies and Fiat Ferroviaria.[6] Fiat supplied the bogies, the hydraulic tilting suspension, and the other parts of the tilting technology, thus the trains could be called Pendolino (a Fiat trademarked brand name).[7]

Deutsche Bahn ordered more regional and express tilting DMUs with other technology (class 611 and class 612: ADtranz/Bombardier, ICE TD/class 605: Siemens[8]). However, for the 230 km/h electric ICE T trains ordered in 1994 for service on conventional lines, Pendolino technology was chosen again. Fiat (Alstom) supplied the bogies and tilting technology for the 32 7-car class 411 and 11 5-car class 415 express trains that entered service from 1999. In 2002, DB placed another order for slightly modified class 411 trains, Alstom Ferroviaria was again supplier of bogies and tilt technology when the 28 trains were delivered from 2004 to 2006.[9]

Finland (and train service to Russia)

See also VR Class Sm3

The Finnish model, the Sm3, is based on the ETR 460, adapted to the specific requirements of VR (formerly the Finnish State Railways) and to the cold climatic conditions. The first two units were made in 1995 by Rautaruukki-Transtech, a rolling stock company which was part of Spanish Talgo until 2007, but is now back in Finnish ownership as Transtech Oy. Currently there are a total of 18 units operating.

An Sm3 class Pendolino in Helsinki Central Railway Station

The electrical traction equipment, with continuous power of 4000 kW, includes GTO chopper/inverter and asynchronous motors.

The trains for VR are composed of 6 vehicles: two traction units, each of which consists of two motor coaches with a 4QC/inverter/converter with four traction motors (one for each bogie), plus a trailer coach with high voltage equipment (25 kV and 50 Hz) and traction transformer; and two end coaches with aerodynamic driving cab. One of the trailer coaches (TTC) has a special featured bar section.

The Finnish Pendolinos have received a lot of bad publicity in Finland for their serious reliability issues, mostly caused by technical problems with their tilting system and couplers. The train did not manage to cope with the severe winter conditions. The coupling problems have grown particularly important when the Pendolino network has been extended, requiring rapid on-the-fly coupling of two trains at intersection stations. Because the units often could not be coupled the train units ended up being two separate trains running one after another. This consumes one extra train slot on the heavily used rail sections causing cascading timetable delays. Due to these problems VR ended the practice of coupling Pendolino trains on-the-fly on autumn 2008.


Karelian Trains

On August 28, 2007, Karelian Trains, a 50-50 joint venture between Finnish VR and Russian Railways, ordered four 1520 mm gauge seven-car Pendolinos for use on 220 km/h Saint PetersburgHelsinki services expected to start in 2010.[10] The bogies will be specially constructed to allow for 220 km/h speed both at the Finnish gauge 1524 mm and the Russian gauge 1520 mm. The model will be an improved version of the model in use by VR, with specifications better adapted to winter conditions solving the previous coupling problems. The journey time between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg will be reduced from five and a half hours to three and a half hours at first and later to three hours.

On December 29, 2008, it was announced that the rail link will be named Allegro (Russian: Аллегро).[11] On January 15, 2010, the first of the four Allegro trains arrived by a cargo ship called Tongan to Vuosaari harbour in Helsinki.


Alfa Pendular in Lisbon, Lisbon-Santa Apolónia Station

In Portugal the Pendolino is named Alfa Pendular and is operated by the Portuguese state railway company CP. It connects the cities of Braga, Porto, Aveiro, Coimbra, Santarém, Lisbon, Albufeira and Faro, among others, and has a top speed of 220 km/h (136.7 mph). The bogies had to be redesigned for operation on Portugal's broad gauge track, and the trains were assembled by ADtranz Portugal at the Amadora plant (former SOREFAME).
Main contractor was Fiat Ferroviaria later acquired by Alstom with two main subcontractors ADtranz and Siemens that was responsible for the traction and train control.
Ten trains six-carsets where produced between 1998 and 2001, with commercial operation started in early 1999. Based on the ETR 460 the Portuguese Pendolino differs mainly from its predecessor from the carbody width that takes advantage of the Iberian gauge 1668 mm.


Slovenian Railways ordered three Pendolino tilting trains for its main lines. The 3-car trains, delivered as SŽ series 310, were derived from the ETR 460.[12] The series 310 can reach a maximum speed of 200 km/h, but in revenue service on the Slovenian railway network, the maximum it reaches is 145 km/h between Ljubljana-Zalog and Ljubljana stations.

An ICS train (310 series) in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Since 24 September 2000[12], the series 310 runs the InterCitySlovenija (ICS) service, linking the major cities of Slovenia in one line: Koper (only in summer), Ljubljana, Zidani Most, Celje and Maribor, with a frequent service that acts as a high-speed shuttle.[13] Until April 2008, once per day the route from Maribor to Ljubljana was extended as international train to Venice via Monfalcone serving Trieste.

United Kingdom

In 2002 Virgin Trains in the UK began operating custom-designed Pendolino trains known as the Class 390 on its West Coast Main Line (WCML) franchise.

The 53 9-car trains were constructed by Alstom and are leased by Virgin Trains from Angel Trains.

Due to the failure of the WCML upgrade to provide in-cab signalling these units are limited in service to 125 mph (200 km/h) operation rather than their 140 mph (225 km/h) design speed. In 2006, Virgin Trains announced that over the next three years they will be examining the possibility of running the trains at 135 mph (215 km/h) through the Trent Valley as part of their new WCML Franchise Proposal.[14]

An Alstom Class 390 Pendolino in Birmingham.

The Class 390 Pendolino are maintained by Alstom (West Coast Traincare) under contract to Virgin Trains until 2012. The main maintenance locations are Wembley, Midlands (Oxley, Wolverhampton), Manchester (Longsight) and Glasgow (Polmadie), as well as Liverpool (for minor work only) and several "Traincare Points" along the line of route (such as Euston and Carlisle). Headquarters for West Coast Traincare moved from the former Metro-Cammell factory at Washwood Heath in Birmingham upon its closure in November 2005 to Manchester Longsight depot with some functions being based at a new office facility at Oxley depot.

The DfT has announced that 31 of the existing 9-car sets will be lengthened to 11 cars to increase capacity. Four new 11-car sets are also to be built. Angel Trains ordered the vehicles from Alstom in September 2008.[15] Virgin Rail Projects has been selected to introduce the new trains. The longer units will require major infrastructure changes to allow stations and depots to accommodate the 11-car units.

Two decades earlier British Rail had planned to bring tilting train technology to the same line with the APT project. Technical problems caused by pressure to launch the service early and lack of the political will to provide sufficient funding to overcome them forced the abandonment of this early attempt, although much of the technology was used to design and build Pendolino trains.[16]

On 23 February 2007, a Virgin Trains Pendolino train was derailed near Grayrigg, Cumbria. Virgin chairman Sir Richard Branson credited the Pendolino with saving lives in the crash, describing it to BBC News as being "built like a tank".[17] A report released on 4 September 2007 found that faulty points were the cause of the accident.[18]

Czech Republic

In 2000 FIAT Ferroviaria took an order for the construction of seven tilting trains for the Czech Railways ČD, in the framework of which, after taking over FIAT Ferroviaria, Alstom provided an improved version of ETR 470. The first set was delivered in 2004 as Pendolino ČD 680. While testing from Břeclav to Brno on November 18, 2004, the Pendolino reached a speed of 237 km/h and created a new Czech railway speed record.

A Czech 680 Pendolino in Kralupy nad Vltavou.

During the testing period, the train had problems with the Czech signalling system. The problems were said to be solved and the trains entered regular service in December 2005 between Prague and Ostrava. As of late January 2006, all five Czech Pendolino trains that had been put in service suffered from software and functional problems. All problems were fixed.

On December 1, 2007 a Pendolino derailed in Prague. No one was injured but the train was severely damaged.

CRH5 in Shenyang, Liaoning, China.


China Railway High-speed (CRH) purchased technologies from Alstom to assemble 60 sets of high speed EMU trains, which have been named CRH5 and are based on Pendolino trains used in Finland. The CRH5 are non-tilting trains.

Potential future orders

The State Administration of Railway transport of Ukraine announced its intent to buy 7 Pendolinos for the UEFA Euro 2012 in 2008, but did not have the financing yet.[19]

Cancelled orders

Polish state railways PKP ordered 16 Pendolinos in 1998. However, the order was cancelled in 2000 due to shortage of funds.[20]

Also in 1998, Romanian railways CFR announced its intent to order two Pendolinos by the end of the year, and wanted to sign another agreement about the local production of 19 more units under a license agreement the next year.[21] However, these plans were not followed up.

In 2002, Slovak railways ZSSK considered purchasing four Pendolinos, in close cooperation with ČD of the Czech Republic. The trains were to run as ZSSK class 650. This project was given up in 2004 for lack of funds.[22]

See also


  1. ^ "Unidad de Tren eléctrica serie 443" (in Spanish). Material rodante español para el salvapantallas. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  2. ^ "Alaris Tilting Trains High-Speed Railway, Spain". Railway Technology. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  3. ^ "Alta Velocidad para distancias medias" (in Spanish). Líneas del Tren 55. Líneas del Tren. 2004-12-21. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  4. ^ "RENFE awards ALSTOM-CAF consortium two orders worth more than 1.7 billion euros". Alstom. 2004-10-30. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  5. ^ "Presentadas las nuevas series 114, 121, 449, 599 y Trenhotel de Renfe" (in Spanish). Vía Libre. 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  6. ^ "Entwicklung" (in German). Baureihe 610. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  7. ^ "Neigetechnik" (in German). Baureihe 610. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  8. ^ "Vorgänger, Nachfolger" (in German). Baureihe 610. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  9. ^ "ICE-T" (in German). Website über die schnellsten Züge der Welt. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  10. ^ "Karelian Trains awards Pendolino contract". Railway Gazette International. 2007-09-05. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  11. ^ "Allegro: the new high-speed rail connection between Helsinki and St. Petersburg". VR Group. 2008-12-29. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  12. ^ a b "The history of Slovenske železnice". Slovenian Railways. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  13. ^ "ICS timetable". Slovenian Railways. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  14. ^ ""We've we'll finish," says Sir Richard". Virgin Trains. 2006-04-24. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  16. ^ [1] "Italian Pendolino systems incorporating original APT technology have since been sold internationally to various rail networks, including the British Class 390 Pendolino"
  17. ^ [2] "It is a very sad day - Branson." BBC News. 24 February 2007.
  18. ^ [3] "Train crash points not inspected " BBC News. 4 September 2007.
  19. ^ "Purchase of the Pendolino locomotives". Euro 2012. Embassy of Ukraine in France. 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  20. ^ "PKP Cancels Pendolino Order". International Railway Journal. February 2000. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  21. ^ "Grupul Fiat face o noua tentativa de a investi in Romania" (in Romanian). Ziarul de Iasi. 1998-11-28. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  22. ^ "ETR 650" (in Slovak). 2004-09-15. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address