In February of this year, the Italian state railways launched an ambitious plan to boost the activities of its freight transport divisions. Its main goal: Doubling the turnover of ‘Mercitalia’ (the then newly introduced brand name) over the next ten years, from 1 billion euro now to 2 billion euro. An important part of the new strategy is ordering new rolling stock, including up to 125 new electric locomotives.
A non-binding call for expressions of interest (EOIs) was issued, for a contract to supply and maintain up to 125 electric locomotives. The expiration date was 17.03.2017. The general specifications back then:
- 30 (+30 option) 3kV DC locomotives, min. 5.2 MW
- 40 (+25 option) 15kV/25kV AC + 1.5kV/3kV DC, min. 5.6MW
Local Italian media from the region were Bombardier has its Vado Ligure factory, the Savona region, have started to publish news about the outcome of the negotiations. Il Secolo XIX for example brings the news that Mercitalia and Bombardier are about to close a deal worth around 400 million euro, covering the construction of the 125 machines mentioned, and full maintenance for the first eight years. The contract should be signed before the end of November.
The deal is crucial for the future of the Vado Ligure factory. For several years now (since the completion of the E464 series production for Trenitalia) the assembly capacity of the Italian Bombardier factory is under-utilised. Over the past years already several rescue plans were implemented to keep the blue collar staff at work, such as refurbishing passenger coaches and ordering extra E464s.
The article again mentions that the first new locomotives should be delivered in the Autumn of 2018. The locomotives should be fully homologated by then.
To be continued. Other sources: telenord.it, www.ilsole24ore.com, ivg.it and rsvn.it