Cable systems for Italy’s high-speed trains

Written by 

Alfonso Perez

Vice President Market Manager Railway

How HUBER+SUHNER’s inter-vehicle jumper solution is connecting Trenitalia’s new ETR1000 trains.

Italy’s premier rail operator, Trenitalia has introduced a new ETR 1000 train which will reach commercial speeds of 350km/h. The new train is currently being built in co-operation between AnsaldoBreda and Bombardier Transportation and HUBER+SUHNER has developed a completely new inter-vehicle jumper solution for power cables for this ground-breaking feat in the world of rail.


Achieving speeds of up to 350 km/h, the ETR 1000 is the fastest series production train in the world. Italian railway operator Trenitalia is the first customer and has ordered 50 trains, the first of which entered commercial operation in June 2015. The high-speed train will reduce the journey time from Rome to Milan from nearly three hours to just two and a quarter. Construction is currently taking place at the AnsaldoBreda plant in Pistoia, in collaboration with consortium partner Bombardier, and is based on the AnsaldoBreda Bombardier V300 Zefiro platform.


Building the new train posed some major challenges for the manufacturers. For example, space for the inter-vehicle jumper cables in the gaiter is extremely cramped, leaving very restricted space for manoeuvering and with a high ambient temperature of up to 70°C. It quickly became apparent that conventional inter-vehicle jumper systems, in which the cables hang down in a U-shape, were unsuitable. This called for a completely new solution, assuming this could be made viable.



In March 2012 HUBER+SUHNER was commissioned by AnsaldoBreda to perform a feasibility study. The company went on to design and develop a completely new inter-vehicle jumper solution to meet the customer's requirements. HUBER+SUHNER rotated the entire system through 90° so that the cables no longer hang down in a U-shape, but instead extend to the left and right. To counter the problem of gravity, the individual cables are suspended by chains in three layers on top of each other. This ensures the necessary flexibility of movement without the cables touching, and provides a contemporary and innovative solution to underpin the efficiency of future rail travel.


HUBER+SUHNER’s work impressed all parties, resulting in an order placed in late December 2012. Since each train comprises eight cars, the requirement is for seven inter-vehicle jumper systems with a total of 108 power cables. The first full train, named Pietro Mennea, was delivered in March 2013 and has been extensively tested. More have now followed and production continues seamlessly, enabling more of Trenitalia's brand-new high-speed trains to hit the tracks in the future, each equipped with HUBER+SUHNER’s innovative inter-vehicle jumper systems.