Given the initial good results of ETR 450s, in 1993 born a new series of 10 tilting trains called ETR 460. Derived from the previous ones, the main differences are more modern but anonymous front ends, state of art (for the time) electronics, a different tilting actuation and 12 traction motors instead of 16 on the standard 9-car sets that give a total output of around 6000 Kw.
Used for fast services on traditional lines, nine sets are still in service but one was destroyed in a derailment occurred in Piacenza in 1997. This was a bad story, that left 6 victims and many injured people, because it happened due to the excessive speed on the curve entering station and officially, to save the name of FS and Fiat Ferroviaria, the two drivers were accused (being dead they can't talk) but, between railroad people, it was notorious that ETR 460 control electronics were falling and many times it was showed a speed data different from the real one. And, without fanfare, in the following months all remaining sets had their electronics upgraded.
In the 90s was created a joint venture, called Cisalpino, between Italian and Swiss state operators to manage the long distance passenger services through the Gotthard and Simplon corridors.
After an initial use of bi-current locomotives loaned from the freight sector, were ordered nine 9-car sets derived from ETR 460 but with capability for 3000 V DC and 15000 V single phase and shorter gearing that gave them a top speed of 200 km/h instead of 250.
Built from 1993 and classified as ETR 470, they were long time tested and only in 1997 entered in revenue earning services.
But this class resulted very problematic and many times Pendolinos needed to be substituted by loco-hauled stock that couldn't mantain the timetable.
The different ideas about management of trains and train services between the two operators led in 2009 to the dissolution of the joint venture and ETR 470 gone four to SBB and five to FS following with the same services but the arrival, in the first half of 2010s, of fourth generation tilting trains for the Italy-Switzerland connections gave SBB the opportunity to write the word end to their sets that were considered as a shame.
FS instead put its sets on "Freccia Bianca" services but, after the acquisition of OSE, destined them to premium services on the hellenic lines and started transforming the DC electrical equipment to the 25000 V single phase on use there.
How can I tell? Only "sorry, Greece".
As Italy, due to its conformation, has many sinuous lines, in 1997 entered service the new ETR 480 class, 15 trainsets that were an updated version of ETR 460s.
Used mainly to fast connect Rome with medium-sized cities, the increase of the high speed lines web (wired at 25 KV single phase) suggested an upgrading to make them able to run under that kind of current so, from 2004, they were transformed and became ETR 485.
Still on duty, the class is used on high level services using partly HSLs.
To be noted that, from 2019, an ETR 485 runs between Athens and Thessaloniki pioneering the future use of the transformed ETR 470.
Delicate and expensive to maintain, all classes of Pendolinos have one of their Achille's heels in the doors: various times, during the run, a door "flied" away from the train, especially when crossing other stock.
And, to be complete, I've to remember that trains partly or completely derived from ETR 460/470/485 were delivered to other countries like Portugal, Finland, Spain, Germany and Great Britain.
Images courtesy of Stefano Paolini and his site Photorail.it, probably the best Italian site for railroad photography.
Projected for 3000 V DC, initially three sets were modified by the builder (Fiat Ferroviaria, now Alstom) to run under the French 1500 V DC on Milan-Turin-Lyon interoperability services but the poor performance on a mountaineous line at half voltage condemned them (there was no need of a genius) and were returned to internal services.
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