FS Class ETR 200

The ETR 200 (for "Elettro Treno Rapido 200", in Italian meaning "Rapid Electric Train series 200") is an Italian electric multiple unit (EMU) introduced in 1936.

ETR 200
The original trainset of the World Record, now preserved as historical train, was re-numbered ETR 232 in the 1960s
In service1937–1993 (as ETR 220)
ManufacturerSocietà Italiana Ernesto Breda
Refurbished1960, rebuilt to ETR 220
Number built18 trainsets
FormationThree-car trainset
CapacityETR 201-206: 35 1st class, 69 2nd class
ETR 207-218: 100 1st class
Operator(s)Ferrovie dello Stato
Train length62.8 m (206 ft 12 in)
Maximum speed160 km/h (100 mph)
Weight116.8 t (115.0 long tons; 128.7 short tons)
Power output1,050 kW (1,408 hp)
Electric system(s)3000 V DC catenary
Current collection methodPantograph
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge

On 20 July 1939 the ETR 200 number 12 obtained the world record average speed, between Bologna and Milan.[1]

Development and records

In the 1930s, the Italian state railways, Ferrovie dello Stato, electrified the main line Milan-Bologna-Florence-Rome-Naples and needed a fast train to use on it and on other newly electrified ones. The project was started in 1934, using new technologies for steel and aerodynamics. The innovative nose of the train was developed after studies in the wind tunnel at the Politecnico di Torino engineering university.

The first example was built by Società Italiana Ernesto Breda, (now AnsaldoBreda), in 1936, an articulated and traction-distributed train with three cars on four bogies, two of which were Jacobs bogies, had a single T 62-R-100 motor, while the others—at the front and rear—were provided with two similar motors each.

The train had been designed for speeds up to 175 km/h (109 mph), but the first pantographs caused problems over 130 km/h (81 mph). The ETR 200 entered service in 1937 on the Bologna-Rome-Naples line. They were considered the most comfortable and fast trains in Europe, and Benito Mussolini had one sent to 1939 New York World's Fair. On 6 December 1937 the ETR 201[note 1] reached a top speed of 201 km/h (125 mph) on the Rome-Naples line (between the stations of Campoleone and Nettunia).

On 20 July 1939, the ETR 212, driven by driver Alessandro Cervellati, established a new world record running (on the average speed for the whole run) between Florence and Milan at 165 km/h (103 mph), and also improving the absolute top speed record up to 203 km/h (126 mph) in the stretch from Pontenure to Piacenza. A popular myth held that Benito Mussolini himself was at the controls, but this doesn't hold to historical evidence.

Later history

The production of the ETR 200 was halted by World War II, and many were damaged by Allied bombings. In the early 1960s the remaining sixteen units were converted to ETR 220/230/240 by adding a fourth car and making other improvements. They remained in service until the early 1980s, and were later used for charter trains up until the 1990s.

The ETR 232, former 212 (the unit making the 1939 record run), has been preserved as a historical train and is in full working order. Another non-working unit was first stored in Ancona until its scrapping in September 2012.

See also


  1. The numbering of FS high speed trainsets is historically different from the "standard" trainset codification, and is composed by a first number, identifying the group, plus a progressive 2-digit number identifying the unit. For example, 212 is the 12th unit of group 200. Later, the group was upgraded to group 220/230/240, and unit 212 became 232


  1. "Gli ETR 200 FS". Interrail.publinet.it. Archived from the original on 2013-02-08.
  • Carli, Cesare; Rissone, Severo (1939). "Gli elettrotreni serie ETR 207-214 e il primato mondiale di velocità sul percorso Firenze-Milano". Rivista tecnica delle ferrovie italiane. Vol. 28. pp. 208–225.
  • Cornolò, Giovanni (1990). Una leggenda che corre: breve storia dell'elettrotreno e dei suoi primati; ETR.200 - ETR.220 - ETR 240. Salò: ETR. ISBN 88-85068-23-5.