Part of the Pendolino family, it is an updated version of the ETR 460 adapted for services under lines electrified at 3 kV DC in Italy and at 15 kV 16⅔ Hz AC in Switzerland and Germany. ETR 470 trains are used for fast services between Italy and Switzerland.
Nine sets of nine coaches each were built, together with a 3-car prototype ("Train 0") which has never been used for commercial service. Since the dissolution of Cisalpino they were split between SBB (4 sets) and Trenitalia (5 sets). SBB plans to retire its 4 sets in 2014 at the latest. They are to be replaced by Stadler EC250 trains by 2019, and with ICN and ETR 610 trains in the interim.
Because of its long series of breakdowns, ETR 470 was very poorly received in Switzerland. The maintenance costs were four times higher compared to the ICN. The final decision to retire the trains was taken after one of them caught fire on 17 May 2009 in Ambri. When they were retired, the spokesperson for the Swiss Association for Transport and the Environment described them as "not worthy of the [Swiss] federal railways", while the chief executive of Swiss Federal Railways said he wanted to "put an end to this horror".