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Ferrari head Luca di Montezemolo has unveiled Italy's first private high-speed train near Naples, with his company NTV planning to take on a state monopoly in the sector starting next year.
"Finally there will be a period of competition, of choice for travellers, for citizens," Mr Di Montezemolo said, as he inaugurated the train, applauded by about 1,000 employees of French company Alstom which is building the carriages.
The train - named "Italo" - is part of the latest generation of high-speed rail travel and "the most modern train in Europe," featuring a small cinema on board and a WiFi Internet connection throughout, Mr Di Montezemolo said.
The sleek red trains with gold edging also have panoramic windows, leather seats and carriages that are wider than the classic French TGV trains. The trains will travel at a speed of around 360 kilometres per hour.
Ticket prices "will have to be contained. We are forced to do so since there will be competition" with Trenitalia's high-speed trains, Mr Di Montezemolo told reporters, although no exact prices have been announced yet.
NTV has ordered 25 Italos for a total of 1.5 billion euros including 30-year maintenance.
They have not yet received formal state authorisation but company officials said this would come "very, very soon."
France's national rail company SNCF owns a 20 per cent stake in NTV, which is led by a group of Italian businessmen including Mr Di Montezemolo, NTV's president, and Diego Della Valle, the head of luxury shoemaker Tod's.
NTV's trains will eventually make 51 connections a day, travelling more than 12.3 million kilometres per year. Company officials said they believed the service would start in March 2012.
It will connect seven Italian cities: Bologna, Florence, Milan, Naples, Rome, Salerno and Turin.
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