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Italian Railways (FS) - a beginners guide to modelling

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I have started this topic in response to a request for information elsewhere.

 

A good start before purchasing any models is to understand the various Epoches.  It is common for both Roman and Arabic numerals to be used, so EpIII and Ep3 are the same.  There was a lot of change in the Ep3 and Ep4 periods, so both are often split in two e.g. Ep3a and Ep3b. The best guide I have found to Italian Railways modelling Epoches is:

http://www.fimf.it/fimf_prec/images/nem/nem814.pdf

 

If you do not understand Italian, search 'fimf epoche' on google and click on 'translate this page'.  Some of the translations into English are rather unusual, but it is generally understable.

 

There is an excellent guide to Italian Railways models that have been produced in the last c20 years (as well as unreleased new announcements in fainter type) at:

http://gamos81.altervista.org/

An English translation can be obtained by a google search of 'gamos81' and using the translation facility.

 

 

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Italian Railways (FS) standard gauge steam locomotives remaining in traffic 1970 onwards

 

The following information is taken from The North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group publication - 'An Enthusiasts Guide to Steam Operations in Austria and Italy in 1972' by R.M.Wheeler.

 

"Although over 800 steam locos remain in Italian Railways stock, only about 200 are required in traffic each day, and about 300 are officially classed as 'under repair''  Locomotives of the following classes have been reported in action during the last 12 months (i.e. in 1971/72).

 

I have used the Italian notation, so Gr625 = Class 625

 

Gr625  2-6-0, built 1910-23.  Mixed traffic (light axle loads) - c100 in service, used throughout Italy

 

Gr640 2-6-0, built 1907-30.  Passenger - c50 still active at Turino, Chivasso, Novara, Alessandria, and Cuneo

 

Gr685 2-6-2, built 1912-27. 4-cylinder passenger locos built for express passenger.  By this date, Udine had one or two in traffic, typically working a return early morning passenger between Udine - Cervgnano and station pilot duties at Udine, plus one or two in traffic at Cremona

 

Gr740 2-8-0 built 1911-23.  About 200 in service throughout Italy

 

Gr741 2-8-0 rebuilt with single Crosti-boiler from Gr740 in 1954-60.  About 50 in service, mainly in Sicily but also at Verona for Fortezza - San Candido.

 

Gr743 2-8-0 rebuilt with twin Crosti-boilers from Gr740 in 1942-53.  About 40 in service, all in northern Italy

 

Gr744 2-8-0 built 1927-28. About 9 surviving including at least one active with Caprotti valves at Venezia Mestre (Venice) and at least one active (with walschaerts valve gear ?) in Sardinia.  Three stored at Foggia.

 

Gr835 0-6-0T built 1906-22. About 150 surviving throughout Italy. Used on shunting and pilot duties.

 

Gr851 0-6-0T built 1898-1924.  Sixteen remaining in stock but many stored - in southern Italy and Sicily

 

Gr875 2-6-0T built 1912-16.  Last example was station pilot at Udine in 1971

 

Gr880 2-6-0T built 1912-16.  About 32 in service, all in northern Italy.  Used on local passengers.

 

Gr895 0-8-0WT built 1909-16. The 6 active survivers shunting Novi Ligure marshalling yards.

 

Gr896 0-8-0WT built 1921.  Most in Sicily, but one or two may still have been active at Novi Ligure and Udine.

 

Gr940 2-8-2T built 1921-24.  About 35 still in service - main active fleet was 10 at Lecco working passenger and freight.  (In 1974, they were still working two peak-time short workings at each end of Lucca-Aulla line).

 

Gr981 0-6-0T built 1922.  4-cylinder rack and adhesion locos working Paola-Cosenza

 

Classes withdrawn 1970/71:

(Information from 'Italian State Railways Steam Locomotives' by P.M.Kalla-Bishop 1986)

Gr471  0-8-0

Gr480  2-10-0 built 1922 - last example at Catania

Gr623  2-6-0 rebuilt with twin Crosti boilers 1952-54 from Gr625

Gr735  2-8-0  built USA/Canada 1917-19

 

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Hello all.

 

Just quick question regarding FS freight trains, do they have/run with a brake van?

 

Mr Google seems to think this is not a good question to ask him as details are very random indeed!!

 

Best shop to be buying FS stuff in HO , from? 

 

Thanks.

 

James

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On 21/07/2019 at 15:08, 73080 said:

Italian Railways (FS) standard gauge steam locomotives remaining in traffic 1970 onwards

 

The following information is taken from The North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group publication - 'An Enthusiasts Guide to Steam Operations in Austria and Italy in 1972' by R.M.Wheeler.

 

"Although over 800 steam locos remain in Italian Railways stock, only about 200 are required in traffic each day, and about 300 are officially classed as 'under repair''  Locomotives of the following classes have been reported in action during the last 12 months (i.e. in 1971/72).

 

I have used the Italian notation, so Gr625 = Class 625

 

Gr625  2-6-0, built 1910-23.  Mixed traffic (light axle loads) - c100 in service, used throughout Italy

 

Gr640 2-6-0, built 1907-30.  Passenger - c50 still active at Turino, Chivasso, Novara, Alessandria, and Cuneo

 

Gr685 2-6-2, built 1912-27. 4-cylinder passenger locos built for express passenger.  By this date, Udine had one or two in traffic, typically working a return early morning passenger between Udine - Cervgnano and station pilot duties at Udine, plus one or two in traffic at Cremona

 

Gr740 2-8-0 built 1911-23.  About 200 in service throughout Italy

 

Gr741 2-8-0 rebuilt with single Crosti-boiler from Gr740 in 1954-60.  About 50 in service, mainly in Sicily but also at Verona for Fortezza - San Candido.

 

Gr743 2-8-0 rebuilt with twin Crosti-boilers from Gr740 in 1942-53.  About 40 in service, all in northern Italy

 

Gr744 2-8-0 built 1927-28. About 9 surviving including at least one active with Caprotti valves at Venezia Mestre (Venice) and at least one active (with walschaerts valve gear ?) in Sardinia.  Three stored at Foggia.

 

Gr835 0-6-0T built 1906-22. About 150 surviving throughout Italy. Used on shunting and pilot duties.

 

Gr851 0-6-0T built 1898-1924.  Sixteen remaining in stock but many stored - in southern Italy and Sicily

 

Gr875 2-6-0T built 1912-16.  Last example was station pilot at Udine in 1971

 

Gr880 2-6-0T built 1912-16.  About 32 in service, all in northern Italy.  Used on local passengers.

 

Gr895 0-8-0WT built 1909-16. The 6 active survivers shunting Novi Ligure marshalling yards.

 

Gr896 0-8-0WT built 1921.  Most in Sicily, but one or two may still have been active at Novi Ligure and Udine.

 

Gr940 2-8-2T built 1921-24.  About 35 still in service - main active fleet was 10 at Lecco working passenger and freight.  (In 1974, they were still working two peak-time short workings at each end of Lucca-Aulla line).

 

Gr981 0-6-0T built 1922.  4-cylinder rack and adhesion locos working Paola-Cosenza

 

Classes withdrawn 1970/71:

(Information from 'Italian State Railways Steam Locomotives' by P.M.Kalla-Bishop 1986)

Gr471  0-8-0

Gr480  2-10-0 built 1922 - last example at Catania

Gr623  2-6-0 rebuilt with twin Crosti boilers 1952-54 from Gr625

Gr735  2-8-0  built USA/Canada 1917-19

 

 

Interesting that no mention of Cremona there. The depot still had active steam in summer 1975 but I can't remember if they were 2-6-0 or 2-8-0 (think the latter and with Crosti exhausts). I think it was the last active depot although one did see quite a lot of cold locomotives elsewhere across the country.

I have some slides somewhere. The depot foreman was very good about letting us visit but we had to be kept out of sight of the Railway Police office on the station platform as photographing the railways in Italy was not allowed then.

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19 minutes ago, GW Jim said:

Hello all.

 

Just quick question regarding FS freight trains, do they have/run with a brake van?

 

Mr Google seems to think this is not a good question to ask him as details are very random indeed!!

 

Best shop to be buying FS stuff in HO , from? 

 

Thanks.

 

James

 

I think brake vans, as such, disappeared in the 70s or 80s. I have seen a freight train that had one but I think it was just being used as a parcels van.

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24 minutes ago, GW Jim said:

Best shop to be buying FS stuff in HO , from? 

 

Thanks.

 

James

 

I tend to use the Italian site Tecnomodel the most, with the occasional purchase from Trenietreni.  Shipping is fast and free (if you spend enough).

 

I've also bought from UK retailers Scograil (Ipswich) and The Hobby Shop (Faversham).  Both carry a few items of Italian stock, mostly more modern era, but they can be a good source of rolling stock from other countries that ran on FS metals.

 

HTH

 

Mal

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11 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

I think brake vans, as such, disappeared in the 70s or 80s. I have seen a freight train that had one but I think it was just being used as a parcels van.

Quite a few normal goods vans were equipped with an end-platform, usually covered, for a brakeman to operate a screw-down brake. This link sould take you to a view of one of the more solid types :- http://www.trenomania.org/fotogallery/displayimage.php?album=lastup&cat=37&pos=2 , whilst this one is a bit more 'rustic' http://www.trenomania.org/fotogallery/displayimage.php?album=lastup&cat=37&pos=12

As all trains have been equipped with air-brakes for many years, a classic brake van would be superfluous. What I'm not sure of is if FS used some sort of 'road van', as SNCF did into the early 1980s. THis was more like a mobile parcels office than what we know as a 'brake van'

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4 hours ago, GW Jim said:

Best shop to be buying FS stuff in HO , from? 

 

Hi James,  I avoid buying brand new unless heavily discounted or on a (very) special offer, so most of my FS locos and stock are second-hand Rivarossi and RoCo, much of it coming from Contikits : http://www.contikits.com/

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5 hours ago, Fat Controller said:

Quite a few normal goods vans were equipped with an end-platform, usually covered, for a brakeman to operate a screw-down brake. This link sould take you to a view of one of the more solid types :- http://www.trenomania.org/fotogallery/displayimage.php?album=lastup&cat=37&pos=2 , whilst this one is a bit more 'rustic' http://www.trenomania.org/fotogallery/displayimage.php?album=lastup&cat=37&pos=12

As all trains have been equipped with air-brakes for many years, a classic brake van would be superfluous. What I'm not sure of is if FS used some sort of 'road van', as SNCF did into the early 1980s. THis was more like a mobile parcels office than what we know as a 'brake van'

This sort of thing:

0E53EA77-09B3-454B-ABD1-C3E80D2D0112.jpeg.84053620594492d22cc2e922fd530bdb.jpeg

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Northroader.

 

A useful bit of info, this I don't suppose you would, or anyone else for that matter, know if anyone makes a RTR model of this.

 

This topic could, should? develop into something very useful for us FS newbies so please keep the information following.

 

Many thanks to you all.

 

James. 

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Sorry, I couldn’t say for sure, very doubtful, but if you look at it,, it is a close relation of the standard goods van, so it should be possible to bash one. There was another large series for the same job in 1931, these were 4wheelers with a coaching stock profile.

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Apart from the ducket, it's very similar to the French equivalent. I read that it has either a paraffin or coal stove fitted. Also interesting is that it only has a handbrake, but is fitted with a through pipe.

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Italeri's 8703 FS goods van may be a good place to start as the parts are flat (like an Airfix kit) Neil's thread has some info 

 

 

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Slightlt off-topic, but  some evocative descriptions of trains and railways in Italy are to be found in the the series of detective novels featuring Aurelio Zen, written by the late, lamented, Michael Dibden. Being a Venetian, Zen has a different relationship with the car to most Italians, and uses trains for the majority of his travels. Dibden describes the journeys and trains at greater length than one might expect. He turns up some gems, such as the freight-only branch into Vatican City.

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DM 98 / 99 - Bagagliai per treni merci  (Goods Brake Van)

 

This has been produced in HO by ACME between 2010 - 2018 in the following liveries:

 

40151 (2011) - Ep3b castano (brown)

40152 (2010) - Ep4a grigio ardesia (grey)

40152S (2012) - Ep4 grigio ardesia (grey)

40153 (2012) - Ep4a grigio ardesia (grey)

40154 (2018) - Ep4a grigio ardesia (grey)

 

It is possible that some models of ACME 40154 are still available at cfbonline.it , though I have never purchased from this website:

 

http://www.cfbonline.it/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&view=category&virtuemart_category_id=16&Itemid=58

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On ‎21‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 12:03, 73080 said:

I have started this topic in response to a request for information elsewhere.

 

A good start before purchasing any models is to understand the various Epoches…..

 

 

An interesting thread. Especially as I had a mixed Austrian/Italian layout in the past. The electric supply of the (old) Italian railway system is 3kV DC - so with all adjoining countries you have a system change - which gives a nice modelling theme. 

 

See here a few shots from the actual border

48373306912_b98228c2d1_k.jpgDSC05337

 

Also the Italian railway fencing - they use premanufactured sections of concrete fencing - and their point motors give the "Italian "feeling

48373305307_31126c3c97_k.jpgDSC05334 

 

 And - whatever you model - don't forget the graffiti. The trucks are kit built, TTM Kit N. 8 - Carro Tramoggia Vfcc, kits came from an Italian model magazine (tutto treno modellismo).

48373307687_ef1138fd31_k.jpgDSC05341 by Gerhard Novak, on Flickr

 

The guards house (artitec kit) is actually based on a French original but I think it fits very well into an Italian scene. Rolling stock on these photos is from Vitrains. 

48373308727_5eddec0f39_k.jpgDSC05333 

 

I still have all the rolling stock, a thread like yours is a stimulation to do something Italian again... 

 

Vecchio, worked 11 years in Milan and lived in the hills of the Brianza. 

Edited by Vecchio
photo hickup
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Italian railways are fascinating. Some of it is very modern, other parts less so. 2-6-0 625.100 was still listed as normal FS stock, as opposed to historic, until only a few years ago. The last steam workings were in the mid 80s. Locos like E626 electrics were virtually unchanged in 80 years. Yet they have hundreds of miles of high speed lines now, seemingly all in tunnels! The slate grey livery appeared on coaching stock in the late 60s, yet was still around on some vehicles this century, so there's a lot of overlap with some models. 

 

I get a lot of my stuff from eBay, or Tecnomodel. My aunt lives in Livorno, so visits there are combined with a trip to the model shop as well. Amazon occasionally have a few Rivarossi bits for sale. I picked up a 744 2-8-0 a few weeks ago for a lot less than the RRP. At one point they had another version for about £105, instead of £178.

 

There are a few wagon kits available from Duegi Editrice that are good value. They need the wheels changing, which is a bit of a hassle as they're continental length 24.5mm axles, rather than the usual 26mm ones, but there are a few sources. DE also publish a lot of very good books and magazines. Not cheap, but some of the photos are stunning and full of detail. 

 

www.duegieditricestore.it

 

When I finally get round to finishing off my shed, I'll be building an Italian layout. About 19' x 7', so a decent size! I've already got far too much stock for it as well, but keep buying bits! 

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5944.

 

I do very much agree with you regarding Italian Railways being both interesting and fascinating. As far as buying models I think it prudent to check out UK suppliers first as having items sent over from Italy is on the increase, very much like deliveries from the US. Of course the down side to this is these supplies do not stock very much in the way of stuff for the FS.

 

Yes, Ebay offers a bit more choice but as a beginner one has to be aware of the age of some of the items against what's on offer today which is excellent. I have used Tecnomodel and someone else who's name I can't recall but had a website were you could have English displayed, very helpful to us old times!!

 

I too need to crack on with my small layout as my stock list is also coming along very nicely with the latest addition being the wonderful LE MODELS 851 004.

 

James

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I thought I’d put in some links which you could already know, but anyway, see how it goes...

First off is Mr. Brian Bennett’s “Tre Ponti” which has been to exhibitions for a few years. To me it’s nice and compact, well thought out, and an attractive appearance.

http://www.uckfieldmrc.co.uk/exhib12/treponti.html

Then there’s a job on display at San Remo “Plastico Ferroviaro Bussana Vecchia” I think this is their home site, and as it’s on public display, an inquiry will give you any number of Facebook type clips. Very nice capture of that gorgeous run down the Ligurian Coast.

https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Community/Plastico-Ferroviario-Bussana-Vecchia-Sanremo-221421014593743/

Looking at the French version of RMweb, Forum LR Presse, there’s a real beautiful work of art, with good ideas for buildings and scenery, Castello by Luciano Lepri.

http://forum.e-train.fr/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=77139

Lastly another link to a big, busy thread on that site, full of model views and colourful photos.

http://forum.e-train.fr/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=71481

Edited by Northroader

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That's a beautiful representation of the Cinque Terre, on the Ligurian coast; there was someone on RM Web, a few years ago, who did a lovely model of the same area. For those who don't know the region, the railway runs along the coast in a mixture of tunnels, covered galleries, and the occasional open-air section. There is so little land suitable for building on the coast itself that buildings are squeezed in, as they often are on models. The line itself, though a major link beween Italy, France and Iberia, still has single-track sections, though these are gradually being doubled or by-passed. One of the best ways of seeing the line is by taking a boat-trip from Santa Margherita to Sestre Levante. Should you be so inclined, then you can return along the coastal footpath, parts of which use old alignments of the line.

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2 hours ago, Fat Controller said:

That's a beautiful representation of the Cinque Terre, on the Ligurian coast; there was someone on RM Web, a few years ago, who did a lovely model of the same area. For those who don't know the region, the railway runs along the coast in a mixture of tunnels, covered galleries, and the occasional open-air section. There is so little land suitable for building on the coast itself that buildings are squeezed in, as they often are on models. The line itself, though a major link beween Italy, France and Iberia, still has single-track sections, though these are gradually being doubled or by-passed. One of the best ways of seeing the line is by taking a boat-trip from Santa Margherita to Sestre Levante. Should you be so inclined, then you can return along the coastal footpath, parts of which use old alignments of the line.

 

… or you can take a local train to Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza or Monterosso al Mare. As a starting point I would see either La Spezia (from the Firenze side) or Sestri Levante (from the Genoa side). Have been there a few times, always worth a visit. Or there are boats from La Spezia, with the hopp on -  hopp off principle. 

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