Information published on 30 June 2020 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 698.

Italy: The future is green

  • Europe
  • Sustainable development
  • Covid-19
  • News from UIC members

An article was published on 30 May in the Corriere della Sera newspaper, under the headline La Freccia Verde, dedicated to the “Triumph of the train, clean and resilient in times of crises” and the environmental challenge launched by Italian State Railways: “97%-recyclable convoys, one-third energy savings, agreements with Research Centres and companies for sustainable mobility.”

“The FS Italiane Group’s watchword is sustainability,” understood in the triple sense of environmental, economic and social, applied to increasingly green mobility. “In 2017, the company joined the UN Global Compact,” whilst the Group’s strategy is entirely focused on green engagement, one of the pillars of the 2019-2023 Business Plan. There are three “long-term goals: to reach zero mortality events (for travellers and staff) by 2050; to become carbon neutral (by 2050, reducing carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, with 2.6 million tonnes in 2019, down 1.6% from 2018); and finally - with the item Sustainable Mobility - the objective of a 5% shift from private vehicle to shared and low-impact public transport by 2030 (15% by 2050) compared with 2015, for 50-50 road and train transport for goods by 2050 (for distances greater than 300 km).”

As FS Chief Executive Officer Gianfranco Battisti confirms, “It is essential to make sustainable action the true driver of development and the creation of value for all stakeholders and for the national system.” In a moment of rebirth post Covid-19, Italian State Railways has put in place “an accelerated investment plan, to enhance collective and low-impact mobility”, also through digital transformation.
“Now, the challenge is to replicate the success of high speed in regional transport as well,” with the fleet to be renewed within five years. The Rock and Pop trains exactly meet the Group’s strategic sustainability objectives, being recyclable up to 97% and with energy savings of one-third less than trains of the previous generation.

“In Italy, high-speed travel has produced similar effects along the Turin-Naples line and now that the Frecciarossa trains are reaching as far as Reggio Calabria the first time, these effects will extend even further south,” continues the Corriere. This is also confirmed by the words of CEO Battisti, who stresses that “the arrival of Frecciarossa will contribute to the restart and revival of the economy and tourism sector of Calabria and the entire South Italy.”

The FS Group is increasingly projected towards international markets and in the expansive investment project, “they play an important role in the green bond (issued in 2019 at a value of 700 million euro), financing the purchase of new passengers and freight trains in full respect of the sustainability objectives.”

Set to arrive soon are hybrid trains, powered by diesel engines and able to switch from electrical power to the combustion engine, reducing consumption.

With 2020 being the European Year of Rail under the EU’s green agenda, the Corriere concluded by sharing that declared by the European Commissioner for Transport, Adina-Ioana Valean: “There’s no doubt that railway transport means huge benefits in most areas: sustainability, safety, even speed, once it’s organised and engineered according to 21st-century principles.”

(Source: FS)