Italian Trains of the 1990's

Hi - was wondering if someone can help me with a historical question. I took a train from Naples to Bari, Italy (and back) in early 1995. It was kind of a special trip as it was a journey to the past to find where my grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from over 100 years ago. Anyway - I'm trying to recreate that passenger train in HO with some of the Reynaulds imports. Can anyone help me identify what type of locomotive and passenger coaches were in use in central Italy at that era? Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of the train. Not having any luck with Google, Yahoo, etc., either. Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions of where to continue my search.
-Dom

Comments

  • Locomotives in use at that time included the E 464, ALe 801, E 402, E 424 among others.

  • Thank you. I don't remember the locmotives at all, though I remember the passenger coaches as somewhat dark, musty and old. I appreciate the help & thanks again!

  • BR42BR42 Auburn
    edited December 2020

    Dear Dom:

    I took a train from Milan to Padova, and the coaches were the regular x-class coaches like this one:

    As far as locos are concerned, Roco has quite a few in its program:


    Ulrich

  • Thank you BR42! I went box-diving last night and actually found my trian ticket from January 1995 - was definitely a 2nd class coach. No other identifying information as to the loco (which I suppose wouldn't be on the ticket anyway). But I believe you nailed the coach; I tend to vaguely remember the maroon color, and it perfectly matches the picture (file attached) that I found online from the late '80s. Unfortunately, the Roco 45825 coach you pictured is no longer available from Reynaulds, but I think Rivarossi has similar offerings in their line-up. I'll definitely check the 'locomotivas', too.
    This exchange has brought back some really fond holiday memories of my first visit to Italy 25 or so years ago - thank you again!
    Sincerely, Dom

  • Speaking of 'locomotivas' - based on your suggestions above - now I'm wondering if my train trip of long ago was over electrified tracks or not. My ticket notes that the trip from Naples to Bari was via Foggia - that seems a VERY long stretch of tracking (at least 150 mi) to be all-electrified, but then again that might be quite standard in Europe (vs North America). So I suppose it could have been a diesel locomotive. Hmmm...

  • BR42BR42 Auburn
    edited December 2020

    Dear Dom:

    150 miles is not a long stretch to be electrified. You can go from Hamburg to Vienna under the same voltage (15 kV, 16.7Hz). At the brenner there is a system change from 15kV, 16.7 Hz to 3kV DC in Italy. Belgium uses 3kV DC, the Netherlands 1500V DC, Austria, Germany and Switzerland 15kV, 16.7Hz, albeit Switzerland has a more narrow zig-zag. France uses both 25 kV, 50 Hz as well as 3kV DC. Norway and Swedden use the German system, while Denmark has 25 kV, 50Hz. At least modern electronics make system changes easier, all these different currents are converted into 3-phase current to feed the motors. Just need a transformer which can handle 15kV and 25kV. The DC currents are fed directly into the electronics.

    Ulrich

  • Not particularly relevant to the original topic, but Italy's new high-speed lines are 25kV 50Hz. Therefore high speed trains have to be able to operate on both the 25kV AC and 3kV DC -- the latter to get in and out of legacy stations.

    -- Ernest

  • Ulrich & Ernest - thanks for the very informative explanations of electrified tracking in Europe. Guess I never imagined the possibility of such long overland routes being electrified. Blame it on my North American ignorance of thinking only city transit systems (i.e., the National Capitol Region's Metro system, etc.) were run on electricity. So, now back to square one on the loco type used on the Naples to Bari run in 1995... I'll try to do some more searching on Italian railway sites for clues.
    (Thanks again to everyone who's helped me with this search on this forum sor far...it's slowly starting to come in to focus!)

  • If you have any knowledge of Italian you may want to try the Italian version of Wikipedia. The German-language version of Wikipedia has a huge amount of railroad-related information for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland -- including information on routes, specific locomotive types, etc. Only a few of these articles have equivalents in the English-language version, usually in a much abbreviated form.

    For what it's worth, the CIA World Factbook (available online -- yes, really) -- shows that approximately two-thirds of Italy's standard gauge lines are electrified -- and that all of its narrow-gauge lines are. This resource has -- among many other things -- information about the transportation infrastructure of every country in the world. Many journalists know about this valuable resource.

    -- Ernest

  • Many newer locomotives are being equipped to deal with different voltages and frequencies in use. Some of the newer locomotives have two different pans and some have four different pans. Including a narrow pan for Swiss cat.

  • Well gents, after about a week or so of red-eyed researching into the wee hours - thanks to many of your suggestions - I think I've settled on a toss up of two of the likeliest electric locos on the Naples to Bari high-speed passenger run in 1995: (1) the E444 "Taratuga", and the (2) E656 "Caimano". I recognize that there's many possibilities, and a few other qualified candidates made the short list, but these two seemed to pop up the most on my many searches. Roco makes the Taratuga, and Rivarossi has the Caimano in their HO line-up; both still available, so that's good. Now it's time to choose... Ahhhh....decisions, decisions!

  • Dom:

    Get both, and all problems solved!

    Ulrich

  • My suggestion as well. You'll end up with both anyway, you may as well buy them together.

  • Too funny! - though you guys are probably right. They're both gonna end up in my collection someday soon anyway!
    So here's a couple of bonus questions for you (...since I'm humbly in the presence of experts!).
    (1) Can anyone identify the loco/rail car in the attached picture? (2) If so, is it available in any of the HO line-ups?

  • I believe that is a FNB El2 but I don't know of a manufacturer that produces that model. I would check Lima and LS. A.C.M.E. too, but if you buy any A.C.M.E. product you will not have any customer support or parts availability from A.C.M.E.

  • BR42BR42 Auburn

    Waiting to get an item you really want is not a good idea. In 1976, I found a Trix Express 42 in a store although it had been out of the catalogue for a few years. Somehow I got talked into a 01 instead. Took me more than three years to finally get one.

    Ulrich

  • I bought a couple of discontinued Roco locomotives in the past. One was on consignment from Reynauld's (Br.111 München 850th Anniversary paint) and a brand new ÖBB 1014 that hasn't been in the catalog for years. I'm glad I bought them. You can't even find them on e-Bay.

    I'm still looking for other Bayern-themed Br.111's in billboard paint. They are scarce.

  • RailwriterRailwriter Durham, NC

    I have two of the Roco Austrian 1014s, both bought used, but in excellent condition. For what it'[s worth, there was a news report in 2020 that the 1014s had been taken out of retirement and were being used on long-haul intermodal trains, mostly in tandem sets -- and in their original paint schemes. So, the 1014 is perfectly contemporary. (The news report was not clear about the current ownership of these locomotives, which had been sold off by the Austrian Federal Railways.)

    About half of my motive power -- mostly Roco -- was bought used. In many cases, I was preoccupied with other things in my life at the time when these models were produced -- and only found an interest in them later on.

    One of the things the Internet helps you do is research used models. Even the Roco factory site has a lot of archival information. If you do a search on a particular model number and first get zero results, go to the category filter in the upper left and select "Archive." Not all out-of-production models from the past two decades will show up -- but many do. And, in some cases you can even download documentation for these models.

    In general, I would not purchase motive power so old that it does not at least have a decoder socket -- unless you are willing to do a lot of work. (However, there is an Austrian one-person business that supplies replacement circuit boards -- with decoder sockets -- for many older Roco models. In many cases these boards also provide LED lights.)

    If there are models that you really, really want, it is fairly easy to set up saved searches on Ebay. That way, you get e-mail notifications when these models show up for sale.

    -- Ernest

  • The final leg of my 1995 journey was on the Bari-Barletta Ferrotramviaria from Bari to Terlizzi. Hence, my interest here. My search of an FNB El2 turned up nothing - Google; ACME or Lima on eBay either. Such a mystery! I did find a passenger coach (new) from ViTrains for the Ferrotramviaria, in the grey/dark grey livery on eBay. Pretty pricey: $100 new (+ $15 shipping from Italy) for one coach. But still no luck on the electric tram loco...

  • BR42BR42 Auburn

    I found that Roco diesel and electric locos from any time period are relatively easy to convert using a small decoder like the Digitrax DZ123 or 146. The TCS Z2 is even smaller. Using the latter, I was even able to convert an old 1189 and E 71 class, although these were not easy. Steamers are a different problem, although I have been able to fit these small decoders in all Roco tenders. Only, the old 57 class needed some work on the coal heap, the rest did not need any metal work. Older Fleischmann locos are a major pain, and I have decided to stay away from them as much as possible. However, a new Roco Re 4/4 will set me back almost $350, while a similar Fleischmann model will run about $120.

    Ulrich

  • I have the Roco Re/420 with sound. Wonderful model. I might eventually get a Bemo Re 4/4 in HOm.

  • RailwriterRailwriter Durham, NC

    The generic discussion of older locomotives has gotten away from the original Italian focus of this thread, but this topic still has many aspects worth discussing -- so, I've started a new thread on older model locomotives.

    -- Ernest

  • RailwriterRailwriter Durham, NC

    Here's another resource for researching older Roco passenger cars:

    bahn.hfkern.de/Roco_Wagen/Menue.html

    Check out each of the sub-categories under the Italian logo.

    This site also has information on Roco passenger (and some freight) cars for many other European countries. The site covers rolling stock produced up to about 2005. Among other things, you can see whether a particular car was produced in full 1:87 or 1:100 length, the era it represents, and the years it was produced by Roco..

    -- Ernest

  • Thanks, Ernest. And no worries about the 'mission creep' of this exchange beyond Italian trains/trams. Thanks to everyone's contributions I'm learning new things with each post! BTW - Happy New Year to all - a safe and happier one!
    -Dom

  • BR42BR42 Auburn

    Dear Dom:

    You may have a look at European Train Enthusiast ete.org. This is a very active group interesting in European trains. An interesting operational scheme would be to have a station where either Swiss/Italian trains or German-Austrian/Italian trains meet. The different electric systems would provide plentiful operation on a layout.

    Ulrich

  • RailwriterRailwriter Durham, NC
    edited January 4

    I noticed that Piko has announced an Era 4 FS diesel that was (apparently) used on passenger trains on non-electrified lines-- Piko 55912.

    The transition between Era 4 and 5 is around 1994 -- so an Era 4 locomotive could still well have been around through the mid to late 1990s in its Era 4 form.

    Remember, in model railroading, eras mark the beginning -- not the endings -- of particular aspects. These beginnings can include the introduction of new equipment, new paint schemes, or new ways of formatting descriptive information on rolling stock. All the previous equipment will not immediately go away -- or be repainted / re lettered. In some cases the full transition can take many years. And, older rolling stock is much more likely to be found on secondary lines during that time.

    -- Ernest

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