Starting this Saturday, a new kind of train will start rolling on Italian rails. It’s called NTV, and it’s Europe’s only privately owned high-speed train, and it counts among its founders Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo.
Of course, the trains are painted bright red.
Montezemolo is one the founding investors in NTV, which stands for Nuovo Transporti Viaggiatori. It’s a challenge to Italy’s state-run Trenitalia monopoly, which controls both regional and high-speed routes. NTV is hoping that faster speeds and a better level of on-board service will entice customers to use their trains when traveling between Italy’s major cities.
It’s a $1.3 billion venture, according to Reuters, and Montezemolo is at the helm. While the majority of the company is controlled by individual and institutional private investors, a 20 percent stake is owned by France’s state-owned railway, SNCF. The French national railway also provides technical and operational assistance.
NTV’s AGV trains are made by Alstom, seat 450 passengers and operate at speeds up to 186 mph. (They can go faster, but local laws won’t allow it.) Uniquely, the trains don’t use locomotives, instead relying on…
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