The new Pendolino

The new Pendolino
© Keystone


by Jeremy Allen
Lausanne – 01 July 2008 | 10:31

Passengers will be able to travel by rail from Geneva to Milan in less than four hours when a new tilting train goes into service in December. Cisalpino’s updated Pendolino will be fitted with all the mod cons and ticket pricing will allow Internet bookings much like low-cost airlines.

Billed as the most modern train in Europe, the new Pendolino run by the Italian-Swiss company Cisalpino promises faster trips to Milan and elsewhere in northern Italy once it goes into service in mid-December. The streamlined tilting train will cut 45 minutes off the travel time between Geneva and Milan, making the journey in three hours and 45 minutes. The train will also serve Venice.
With a top speed of 280 kilometres an hour, the new Pendolino, manufactured in Italy by Alstom, is slower than the TGVs used on the French rail system. But unlike the TGV its tilting ability enables it to maintain speed on bends in the track.
Within a year, all of the Cisalpino trains currently used on the Geneva- Venice route will be replaced by 14 of the new models, delivered a year later than expected. The current fleet of Cisalpino trains had experienced a rash of break-down problems since they were introduced in 1996. The company plans to refurbish these trains once the newer models become available. Their technology and interiors will be improved before being put back into service in three years.
The new Cisalpino train will offer access to the Internet, the rental of DVDs and individual electric plug sockets. The company said it is basing its pricing on the business model of low-cost airlines. Discounted fairs will be available if travel is booked in advance, with cheaper ticket prices during off-peak times. Current prices for a second-class return weekend trip to Milan average 200 francs.