Italy - miscellaneous

Click the picture to see it in full scale


This is a real rarity. Today it is merely a heavy snow plough registered as "VNx806", but it used to be a three-phase electric locomotive. When the famous Simplon tunnel and railway line from Switzerland over to Domodossola in Italy was built, the line was electrified with three phase current 1906 to 1930. Special locomotives were used which had pantographs for two overhead catenary wires (the third phase was connected to the rails). This one used to be one of these three phase locomotives, E.550 122, built sometime between 1908 and 1921 and now stripped of its motors, pantographs and other mechnical parts needed for driving.
Behind it is seen a privately owned Henschel made small diesel locomotive which is now used for pushing this extraordinary snow plough.
Picture from Aosta 29.12.2001 by Ilkka Siissalo.


A closer look at the same former class E.550 three phase electric locomotive. It was designed for use with 3400 V 15,8 Hz three phase current. Top speed was 50 km/h and power output was 1500 kW. They were retired in 1965.
Wikipedia tells us the following:
E.550 had five axles connected to the two electric motors through an articulated coupling rod. The three center axles were rigidly mounted to the frame and the center axle's wheels were without flanges. The outer axles were mounted in a manner that allowed them to turn into curves. The wheels were small, and thus adapted to heavy freight or slow passenger services at low speed. The locomotive had two cabs, one at each end of the central compartment. The motors were asynchronous three-phase, which could be connected in series at low speed and in parallel at higher speeds. The connections were enabled through a tambour connector using a liquid-cooled rheostat. Feeding was provided by paired trolley poles at each end, each pair carrying two bow collectors for the two wires of the three phase system.
Picture from Aosta 29.12.2001 by Ilkka Siissalo.


This rail truck RFI 151174-5 belongs to RFI, which is the infrastructure part of the Italian state railways, Ferrovie dello Stato. Picture from Como 6.7.2019 by Ilkka Siissalo.

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