• The Italian way of railcars

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

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  by David Benton
 
Hi Benny,sorry i have been busy , but i have been reading these with interest.Thanks for posting.
  by johnthefireman
 
Yes, thanks Benny - I would say exactly what David just said.
  by Benny
 
Thanks.
Really Phil was the soul of this forum, that is far quieter from his departure. So it's not so easy to understand if a theme is or is not interesting for other people.
As I told, I enjoy sharing the little I know but, please, if you will think that a topic is not of your interest, tell me. :-D :-D

Ciao :wink:
  by Benny
 
Trans Europ Express (TEE) was a network of high level modern and fast trains born in 1957 from some European national operators to contrast the quick development of air services between the most important European cities.
First class only and with restaurant service on board, the TEE trains were initially diesel operated to avoid the time loosing of traction changes at the border stations and custom operations were (theoretically) made during the run.

Instead of having a unified stock, the founders of TEE group put in service four different models of articulated DMU respecting the compulsory features. The Italian train was composed of two railcars semi-permanently coupled and classified as ALn 442.2001-2009 (with kitchen) and ALn 448.2001-2009 (with luggage room and a generator for on-board utilities).
These units were projected and built by Breda on a chassis derived from the one of ALn 880 and the body had only one cab each unit providing a simple and elegant design.
Power was furnished by a Breda D19SB engine each railcar, enhanced version of the ALn 880 one developing 360 kw, and the transmission to the wheels was made through a Wilson gearbox that could operate manually on automatically. Maximum speed was 140 km/h.
An interesting feature, unique in the FS diesel railcar bogies, was the use of hollow shaft to transmit power from the reversing mechanism (I don't know the right term) to the wheels; during the years it resulted to be an unnecessary complication.
To be complete, also four Intermediate trailers, (Ln 60) were built to augment capacity but, after the first tests, they were quickly transformed as EMU trailers because the performances were affected too much (nearly all the lines going out of Italy are mountainous).

From the beginning these nice railcars, nicknamed "binato" (twin unit) by railroaders, were mainly used for the following pairs of TEE trains:
Ligure, between Milan and Avignon
Mediolanum, between Milan and Munchen (from 1969 this trace changed to the German VT 11.5s)
Leman, between Milan and Geneva.
From 1960 to 1972 they were also used on the Mont Cenis between Milan and Lyon (and our "beloved" cousins, chauvinist as usual, nicknamed the Italian train "camion", or road truck, to remark a supposed excellence of their RGP sets).
Because of the increased demand and the need of higher speed joint with more comfort, from 1972 the TEE trains interesting Italy were made with dedicated hauled stock (the time loosing for the change of loco was regained with a faster journey) or with the mythical RAe 1050 swiss articulated Emus.
Lost the international services, the eight sets (a railcar burnt inside the Simplon tunnel and another one was heavily damaged by a Swiss shunting loco) took in charge the fast services on the Ionic line, between Bari and Reggio Calabria, but the scarce number of seats and a little ruggedness of the southern drivers made that in 1974 they were transferred to Pavia and Treviso depots where the binatos occupied themselves with the Dolomites Arrow (Milan-Calalzo) inherited from the ALn 990s and the fast services between Venice and the province of Belluno. At the same time the ALn 442s were deprived of the kitchen to increase the seats (now 60) and were reclassified with the strange number ALn 460.
In the second half of the 70s all the sets were concentrated at Treviso depot and used not only for express services but also for some stopping ones.
Used on lines not so proper for them and wearing because of the heavy duties in the first years of their career, at the beginning of the 80s the worst sets were written off but for the remaining ones started a new life with many charter services that took them nearly everywhere. Only to give two samples, in 1984 a group of railfans including the writer made a tour Milan-Paris and return with 2008 set and, some years later, the same couple toured Sicily, where they never gone before.
The last set run until 1995; some years later it was sent to the private Magliola works to take off asbestos before an overhaul but, during the permanence, the works gone bankrupt and, in my knowledge, is still inside there, sealed to avoid asbestos dispersion.

In 1960 an unknown set is waiting its passengers in Munich main station during the Mediolanum turn. From the emitted smoke we can understand that the shot was taken when the driver was changing the driving desk. (the caption ALn 460 is wrong).
Image by unknown author, courtesy of Photorail.
448e460xxxx-195xmonaco_0001.jpg
In the last months of international service, a Binato is leaving the Milan Centrale canopies to launch itself on the Simplon line doing the Leman TEE to Geneva.
Image by B. Studer courtesy of Photorail.
720214-FS-01b copia.jpg
The last surviving pair, ALn 448+460.2008, in a snowy shot taken in Aosta in 1993 during a charter service.
After 35 years the silhouette of the TEE sets still remain elegant and alive.
Image by S. Paolini courtesy of Photorail.
460e4482008-280293aosta copia.jpg


Ciao :wink:
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  by NorthWest
 
I'd never heard of these. Most of the focus on TEE services seems to focus on German efforts, so these are very interesting. Sharp looking cars in that paint, but they definitely look capacity limited.
  by Benny
 
NorthWest wrote:I'd never heard of these. Most of the focus on TEE services seems to focus on German efforts, so these are very interesting. Sharp looking cars in that paint, but they definitely look capacity limited.
Some words to meet the Northwest curiosity without going too much OT.

When, in 1957, began the TEE services, the founders put on use four types of stock.
One was the italian twin unit, yet known, but the best known was the German VT 11.5, later class 601. These were composed of two motor/luggage units with hydraulic transmission and only one powered bogie, raised cab and an aggressive appearance, that sandwiched a number of trailers (generally five but it could vary); between them a kitchen/dining and a bar/dining cars.
With a total power of around 1600 kW and a top speed of 160 km/h, they were considered the most comfortable of the TEE fleet.
When, in 1973, TEE trains evolutioned to loco-hauled coaches the "big noses" passed to domestic InterCity duties until the end of the decade, when the IC trains became first and second class. In the 80s they were used for charter service and then retired.
A running complete train has been preserved as historical item.
vt-115-tee-trans-129679.jpg
Swiss and Dutch railways, instead, jointly projected a fixed rack constituted of a power/luggage/customs unit with two three axle bogies moved by electric transmission and three trailers: a driving one with open layout, the central one with kitchen, restaurant and open layout seats and a compartments one.
Classified as RAm 501-502 (the Swiss ones) and DE4 1001-1003 (the Dutchs) these trainsets had a power of approximately 1500 kW and a 140 km/h top speed. They were put on duty between Zurich, Amsterdam, Bruxelles and Paris and used in pool but in 1971 RAm 501 was destroyed in a severe derailment in Germany so turns had to be reduced.
In 1974, because of new wirings and the need for higher speed, the Swiss/Dutch sets were stopped and, after a couple of years, sold to Canadian operator Ontario Northland.
The new owner preferred to work always with the power car forward, so after each journey it turned the entire train, but the rudeness of the service made that, after few years, the power units were scrapped and substituted by classic American locos.
In 1992 what remained of the ex TEE sets was put out of service and in the new millennium some trailers returned Europe and are being restored by railfans.
tee-ram.jpg
The fourth model of TEE diesel train was simply a first class version of the french RGP. SNCF preferred a proved design and put on these high level services a subseries (X2770) of its Rame a Grand Parcours, or RGP.
This was a DMU whose basic set was a railcar coupled with a driving trailer, integrated by other elements when needed. The motors were powered by a 600 kW MGO engine coupled with a hydromechanic transmission and the trailers were equipped with a kitchen for at-seat restaurant service (as the italian sets). Note that a previous series of RGP was powered by two smaller engines (bimoteurs) but these ones never were used for TEE services.
RGPs were doing the Arbalete (Paris-Basel-Zurich), the Etoile du Nord (Paris-Bruxelles) and the Mont Cenis (Lyon-Milan) but the scarce comfort and the high loudness (the big engine was inside the body between the cab and the passenger accommodation) made that yet in 1964/65 the french sets were retired from the TEE services and their duties taken by the stock of other operators or passed to hauled stock.
Displaced to internal long distance routes, the RGPs were revamped at mid 80s (with change of the front ends) and soldiered on until 2005.
Some sets have been preserved by railfans.
SNCFRGP023.jpg

The three images from internet. Place, date and author unknown.


Ciao :wink:
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  by David Benton
 
I never knew the tee services started out as DMUs .interesting. I ended up on one on a railpass once, buying a coffee would have blown the days budget.
  by NorthWest
 
Thanks. The somewhat strange looking VT 11.5s seem to get most of the TEE publicity, along with the preserved and operational SBB EMU set.
  by ExCon90
 
Yes, thanks, Benny. It's great to have that information all in one place. It should also be mentioned that all the TEEs had luxurious interiors, in my opinion more so than today's equivalents--TGV, Thalys, etc.
  by Benny
 
NorthWest wrote:Thanks. The somewhat strange looking VT 11.5s seem to get most of the TEE publicity, along with the preserved and operational SBB EMU set.
Surely they are the most iconic to the eyes of the general public, and so began the symbol of the TEE era.

To ExCon90: it's impossible to make a comparison, it's like to compare a good restaurant and a McDonald's. The two ones sell food but there is an abyss.

Ciao :wink:
  by Benny
 
The ALn 772 project was drawn before WW2 and, after the recovery time, FS needed a new good-for-all railcar, also because ALn 880 and 990 were mainly oriented to express services.
The new cars had to partly replace the first generation "littorinas" but also to start dieselize the myriad of steam hauled trains made with three or four coaches that still populated the secondary lines, so it was needed the presence of trailers because the unions permitted only two railcars in multiple working.
With these preconditions in mind, OM drawn a motor in which the aerodynamic attempts were lost in favour of simple curvy joints between the surfaces to help the gangway between units. The result was aestethically not so bad but worsened in the front ends because of too much uprights and small windows.
The new railcars were classified as ALn 773.3501-3570 and had two rotating doors per side, near the extremities, and a luggage/parcels room accessible through a shutter at the back of one of the cabs.
The passenger accommodation was composed of two different halls: a bigger one with 55 second class seats disposed on a 2+2 line and a smaller first class room with 18 very comfortable seats disposed 2+1. To be noted that, in the previous railcars, the difference between first and secondclass, being the same seats, was generally marked only by the presence of white covers on the headrests of the first class ones.
A big defect of the project was the accessibility by passengers: the entrance doors and steps were badly positioned so users had to climb very steeply; the last units were slightly improved but for all their operating life our railcars remained problematic for people with low agility.
On the mechanical side, ALn 773s marked the abandonment of the single big engine and the return to two smaller underfloor ones that powered one axle each bogie (wheel arrangement 1A-A1) through hydraulic gearboxes.
Because of the trailers, it was needed a bigger power so OM, being licencee for the Swiss Saurer engines, selected the BXD-UL model, a supercharged version of the ALn 772 engine with six horizontal cylinders that was calibrated at 155 kW giving a total output of 310 kW each railcar.
At the time, turbochargers were not very proven (the only other use in FS was on ALn 880s, still too much young to give a valid response) and ALn 773s had, for all their operating life, problems of lubrication and sealing retention on these delicate equipments, besides of deformation of the engine heads due to overheating.

ALn 773.3502 and its trailer are waiting for the next service under the canopy of the warehouse at Chioggia Station in 1991. Note the vertical handrails symbol of the difficult access.ALn 773.3502 and its trailer are waiting for the next service under the canopy of the warehouse at Chioggia Station in 1991. Note the vertical handrails symbol of the difficult access.
7733502erim-280891chioggia.jpg
Driving trailers of the previous classes had the same body of the motors but this time OM, with the idea of making something cheap to build and light enough to avoid stressing too much the motor, drawn one of the ugliest vehicles of the italian railroads. It was a short box with rounded edges suspended over two bogies; the gangway bellows seemed to be glued on the front ends and the off-center vestibule made the side very ungraceful.
Classified as Ln 664.3501-3549, they had only second class accommodation and half of a front end was occupied by a strange driving cab in which the assistant driver (until recently FS trains had two drivers) had theoretically to stay on a folding seat at the back of the first man. As you can imagine, the folding seat was never used and the second agent was standing up watching through the gangway window.
Note that these "splendid" trailers have been replied for the first ALn 668s (Ln 664.1400) and there have been also versions for electric railcars (Le 640 and 680, the last ones without cab).

Achieved the turn, in 1992 Ln 664.3510 and ALn 773.3579 are manoeuvring in Mantua station to shelter themselves into the depot. It's easy to see the difference between the railcar and its trailer.
7733579erim-190992mantova.jpg
At first allocated to Turin, Verona, Reggio Calabria and Cagliari depots, ALn 773s were initially used not only for local services but also for some express connections as Bari-Reggio Calabria (before the ex-TEE units), Turin-Rimini, Sassari-Cagliari and the international Venice-Munchen.
Another express train born with this class was the "Versilia arrow" with two sections from Brescia and Verona to the Tuscan beaches of Viareggio, but they were displaced because of problems of engine overheating due to the mountaneous stretch crossing the Appennino.
For the same reason they disappeared from Sardinia and the southern depots and passed all their career on the plain lines of northern Italy assigned to Verona, Mantua, Treviso, Turin and Pavia, from where they covered nearly all the non wired lines of the Po plain.

The Brescia-Piadena-Parma line always has been well patronized. In this shot, taken in 1994, ALn 773.3510 and 3569 sandwiching a trailer are marking the stop at Casalmaggiore.
7733569e3510erim-310194casalmaggiore.jpg
But, during the years, engine and turbocharger problems gone worsening and ALn 773s became an headache for drivers and works so, from the end of the 80s, began the sidelinings; the las t FS unit was retired in 1993 but someone was sold to Ferrovía Alifana, that managed the line between Santa Maria Capua Vetere and Piedimonte Matese (Neaples) and survived some years more. This granted railroad yet bought, in the 60s, five motors and some trailers new from OM.
Also Ferrovie Padane (line Ferrara-Codigoro, now part of FER) bought from OM three motors and trailers, the latters with the same body of the motors. Today no one of these vehicles is operated.

Two words about liveries. ALn 773s were the first class to abandon the depriment brown painting and born with a white and brick red scheme; in 1961 it was changed to white, green and signal red and from 1965 it was adopted the definitive livery of blueish grey, parchment beige and signal red (official names of the tones).

After their retirement, five motors and a trailer were preserved and repainted in the first liveries but now, after years of use for tourist services, three railcars are waiting money for repair and overhaul and the rest has been severely damaged and is waiting for scrap.

The three images by S. Paolini courtesy of Photorail

Ciao :wink:
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  by NorthWest
 
The 1A-A1 arrangement is how the famous Budd RDC cars worked. Did the driving trailers ever lead?

They've scrapped the rule requiring two drivers? Right after they brutalized the E.402As?

Thanks and hope you are well!
  by Benny
 
NorthWest wrote:The 1A-A1 arrangement is how the famous Budd RDC cars worked. Did the driving trailers ever lead?

They've scrapped the rule requiring two drivers? Right after they brutalized the E.402As?

Thanks and hope you are well!
I'm more or less well, don't worry, bad boys never die.

I'm not sure to understand what you mean.
Driving trailers were used daily as leading units. In the second photo is the trailer that pilot the railcar; remember that in Italy the driving desk is on the left.

Until approximately twenty years ago, FS trains were compulsory driven by two agents "as a safety measure". It was imposed by the unions as form of job safeguarding but really the second driver (or anciently the assistant driver) only filled in mountains of paper that no one reads. Later it gradually changed and today many trains have only one driver. For the same reason FS locos never used multiple working.
Your beloved E 402 A were mutilated to permit the use with a single driver.

Ciao :wink:
  by NorthWest
 
Oh, I think I was confused; I didn't really understand what the purpose of the second driver was (or wasn't :-D )

I guess the one driver per cab rule still applies then.
  by Benny
 
NorthWest wrote:Oh, I think I was confused; I didn't really understand what the purpose of the second driver was (or wasn't :-D )

I guess the one driver per cab rule still applies then.
The scope of the second driver was mainly to strengthen the political power of the labor unions. Don't forget that, from the end of WW2 until the end of the 70s, the three biggest unions made good and bad weather in Italian industry and economics.
And this is why the simple "dead man" has never been installed in FS trains and more sophisticated safety features as the in-cab signals repeating were used only on main lines.

About the rule of drivers, the actual situation is this:
trains in which the cab can be reached from the rest of the train (EMUs, rakes with a single cab and through passing loco): one driver.
Trains with a classic double cab loco (passenger and freight):two drivers.

Ciao :wink:
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