ROME--Italy's newest high-speed rail company is hoping its connections with the king of the road, the Ferrari automobile company, will spur passengers to come along for the ride.
The Italo train will begin operations from April 28 under the management of Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV).
The train, which has a top speed of 300 kph, is being trumpeted as the most advanced in Europe.
Ticket sales began from April 15.
Even while Italy still reels from economic crisis, NTV is hoping to attract 9 million annual passengers by the end of 2014.
Italy's high-speed rail service has until now been the monopoly of Trenitalia, which is the privatized entity of Italy's former public train company.
Among the major shareholders in NTV is Luca di Montezemoto, Ferrari's chairman.
The Italo railcar was manufactured by Alstom of France and is painted bold red, the color for which Ferrari is known.
Initially, the Italo will only make two round-trip runs between Milan and Naples, but the schedule will be gradually increased until there are 50 trips daily.
The train will connect Milan with Rome, a distance of about 480 kilometers, in just three hours and 11 minutes.
To attract business passengers, the Italo will provide free wireless LAN service so that mobile phones can be used without interruption. Video from a news channel will also be piped in.
The train will have three classes of service, similar to airlines. In the cheapest "smart" class, a ticket for a ride between Milan and Rome will cost 45 euros (about 4,800 yen, or $60).
A special opening price of 30 euros will be offered until the end of August. Family discount tickets will also be available.
A comparison of ticket prices available over the Internet for April 28 travel between Milan and Rome showed a ticket for 69 euros on Trenitalia's Frecciarossa special express that travels at 300 kph and a ticket for about 48 euros on an Alitalia flight.
- « Prev
- Next »