Consortium including Hitachi Rail wins new €1.8bn digital signalling contract for high-speed line between Verona and Padua

Hitachi Rail, as part of the IRICAV DUE Consortium has signed a €1.8 billion contract to design and deliver the track and the digital signalling that will cross the city of Vicenza with a new High Speed/Capacity (HS/C) line.

The signing of the contract between RFI and Consortium IRICAV DUE, will enable Hitachi Rail – as a member of the Consortium – to start work on the Crossing of Vicenza. Although only 6.2km in length, the connection will transform journeys for passengers looking to travel between Verona and Padua.

The project will see Hitachi Rail supply its European Rail Transport Management System (ERTMS) digital signalling to create the HS/C line. ERTMS is the most advanced system for the digital control of railways and uses radio signals between the train and track to monitor speed and automatically activate the train’s emergency brakes if a hazard is identified or if the train exceeds the track’s speed limit. This means that trains can safely run faster and closer together, improving service speed and reliability and allowing more trains on the track.

The ERTMS level 2 system is a significant step in railway interoperability, simplifying and optimising train control on international railway networks. The traditional track-based signalling is replaced by radio communications between the trains and the Radio Block Center (RBC). This simplifies the railway environment by reducing the costs of the installation and maintenance of the traditional signalling systems. This technology will also allow trains from nearby European countries to operate on Italian railway lines without interruption, with the aim of creating a harmonious and integrated system throughout Europe.

The new contract follows the phase one award (Verona-Bivio Vicenza) signed in August 2020, worth over EUR 2.4 billion. The new railway line will be 76.4km long in total and, in addition to connecting the two cities, will complete the rail link between Milan and Venice.

Luca D’Aquila, COO Hitachi Rail and CEO Hitachi Rail Italy, said: “We are particularly proud of this order: our ERTMS digital signalling will deliver for the customer and the passenger alike. Once installed, the system will enable a service that can safely travel at greater speed and with increased capacity on the line.”

Hitachi Rail has taken part in the construction of all the High Speed/Capacity Lines in service in Italy , supplying its cutting-edge ERTMS digital signalling.