NTV In-Train Entertainment System Case Study

IFPL turns a vision into reality

When Italian high-speed rail operator Nuovo Transporto Viaggiatori (NTV) wanted to develop a city-to-city service to rival airlines, they came to IFPL to turn their aspirations and a Giugaro designed vision into reality.

Situation

Project Aims for Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (New Passenger Transport)

Created in 2011 by four Italian businessmen, NTV is Europe’s first private train operator of 300km/h (190 mph) high-speed trains across the Italian high-speed rail network, comprising 13 cities and 16 stations over three main lines.

The aim for NTV was to deliver a service that provided business class travel to rival that of airlines in key areas of speed, comfort and in-seat entertainment. Plus, unlike many airports the service would take passengers directly to the heart of a city, therefore cutting journey times and providing a truly point-to-point service. To support these aims 25 fully certificated trains with a total of 75 carriages were to be brought into service within just 16 months. Mirroring the service offerings of air travel, passengers could choose three standards of accommodation on board each train:

Club Class

Featuring Club Class compartment ‘lounges’; in-seat airline style deployment arm with 9” touch screen monitors, multi-language entertainment channels, noise cancelling audio, Bose Headsets and Wi-Fi.

Super Top

A more open carriage configuration with at-seat 7” touch screen monitors; multi-language entertainment channels, noise cancelling audio, Bose headsets and Wi-Fi.

Cinema Class

Back-to-back seating, Wi-Fi and overhead screens, in-seat Passenger Control Units (PCU) to select volume and language for entertainment channels and safety announcements.

The Challenges

As the name suggests, NTV wanted to create a service not seen before within the rail industry, which in itself posed a number of unique and often unclear challenges:

  • Regulation within the rail industry was complex and often more stringent than those of the aviation sector.
  • Project timescale from commencement, through to the new service being unveiled and brought into service, was only 16 months.
  • A conceptual seat design had been created by Giugaro, one of Italy’s leading design studios, but the design was only a concept and yet to be manufactured.
  • Multiple supply partners had to work closely together and with clear lines of communication to deliver the new trains into service for NTV, including Alstom the trains manufacturers, Giugaro and train infrastructure specialist 21NET.
  • Budgetary pressures were significant with little contingency available to support any unforeseen problems or manufacturing issues.

Why IFPL?

The project required a company with many unique qualities, something that after initial meetings made IFPL the natural choice for this important new concept in high-speed rail travel.

  • IFPL was immediately recognised for its problem solving capability; helping to ensure that any issues could be overcome whilst minimising any potential impact to timeline or budget.
  • IFPL’s in-house R&D, testing and quality control capabilities would ensure that the stringent tolerances, regulatory and testing requirements of the rail industry were fully adhered to at all stages of design and manufacture.
  • IFPL’s knowledge and experience of materials science, mechanical and electrical design and how to integrate ergonomic and aesthetic industrial design that maintained the design language of Giugaro was key to delivering a successful project. Within this,IFPL leveraged its aviation experience to meet the strict regulatory flammability requirements.
  • IFPL’s high-value mechanical, electrical and engineering skills allowed them to rapidly understand the needs of the project and overcome any issues. This was reflected in relation to the Giugaro designed seat as IFPL’s used their materials knowledge to create a unique wiring loom and peripherals set for the seat. The solution created by IFPL incorporated specialist aviation grade materials to achieve the high standard required, whilst remaining faithful to Giugaro’s design concept.
  • With a proven history of managing complex projects with multiple partners within the highly regulated connectivity and inflight entertainment sector of the aviation industry, IFPL quickly demonstrated the capabilities necessary to complete the project on time and within budget.
  • IFPL’ s in-house skills to innovate concepts, develop rapid prototypes, provide industrial, mechanical and electrical design, test and manufacture ensured this project would be completed on time and within budget. This was demonstrated quickly, as IFPL became the first supplier to the project to receive production approval.

Extending the Scope of Supply for IFPL

Initially, the requirement was to provide in-seat consoles and PCUs only. However, due to IFPL’s manufacturing capability and proven product range, the scope of supply was expanded to provide a total solution across all trains.

The solution would incorporate:

  • All in-seat consoles with monitor deployment arms to accommodate both 9” and 7” touch screens
  • In-seat PCUs for language and channel selection plus volume control.
  • 4-channel audio distribution with dual voltage, dual redundant power supply delivered to all seats within a carriage.
  • At-seat audio jacks using IFPL’s INCAM noise cancelling solution with the added benefit of enabling passengers to use their own headsets (in addition to those provided on-board trains).

A Solution Delivered

From a schedule created and aligned by IFPL with the build and delivery of each of the 75 carriages by Alstom, IFPL completed the project on-time and within budget.

The first train was unveiled in a ceremony on December 13th, 2011 in Napoli, Italy by NTV CEO Giuseppe Sciarrone and in the subsequent year the service saw 2,051,702 passengers. In 2015, NTV announced plans for eight new trains to expand the fleet and operations across Italy.