Information published on 18 September 2018 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 614.

Italy/Greece: Trenitalia Pendolino tested on Athens – Thessaloniki line

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A Trenitalia ETR 485 Pendolino EMU has undergone high-speed tests in Greece as the Italian operator and its Greek subsidiary Trainose prepares for the possible introduction of the 250km/h tilting trains on the Athens – Thessaloniki line.

Eight return test runs – fewer than originally planned – took place on the 67km Katerini – Thessaloniki section of the Athens – Thessaloniki line between September 5 and 7. Five test runs took place on September 5, with the train reaching a maximum speed of 196km/h. Speeds were incrementally increased to 204km/h on September 6 and 213km/h on September 7.

The train was officially presented to politicians and the media on September 8 and the train went on static display at Thessaloniki station the following day, coinciding with the 83rd Thessaloniki International Trade Fair.

Originally designated ETR 480, the fleet of 15 nine-car trains was built by Fiat in 1997-1998. The trains were subsequently modified to operate under 25kV ac 50Hz electrification systems and renumbered ETR 485.

Each 236.6m-long nine-car set is formed of three first class, five second class and one bar-restaurant car, seating a total of 489 passengers (146 in first class, 343 in second class, two in wheelchair spaces and 23 in the restaurant).

The introduction of high-speed rolling stock is a key component of Trainose’s plan to reduce journey times on the main Athens – Thessaloniki axis to 3h 20min. This will be possible following the completion of track-doubling, electrification and the installation of ETCS on the 52km Lianokladi – Domokos at the end of 2019.

With the conclusion of the tests and the exhibition in Thessaloniki, the train will now return to Italy, where a final decision will be made on whether to send between five and eight trains to Greece.

Despite the use of an ETR 485 for the test, it is unclear what type of Pendolino would be sent to Greece for commercial operations, with ETR 460, 463 and 470 all considered potentially suitable candidates for redeployment.

(Source: IRJ/FS News)