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Don's Rail Photos
Azienda Tramviaria Municipale
Trolleys of Milan and Elsewhere
To the North of Milan were several interurban lines, two of which still survive to some extent. The cars were built in 1930 for the Milano-Monza line which was closed in 1966. The local name for the car type is "Reggio Emilia." One of the cars was imported to America. It really reminds me of a Philadelphia & West Chester Brill car.
45 was built in 1930.
96 was built in 1930. It was sold to the Municipal Ry of San Francisco in 1986 and sold to Aspen, Colorado. That project failed and it was sold to Issaquah Valley Trolley in 2002 but it would need restoration. It was sold to Oregon Electric Railway Museum in 2015.
101 was an interurban car.
Stefano Paolini tells us that 1nterurban cars of this 1942 series are known as "littorina" for their similarity to autorails on the FS. Built with a beautiful aerodynamic profile to trail express trains on Milan - Monza line, they were remembered for a speed record accomplished in the 1930s. One of these cars reached 130 km/h while trailing 2 coaches on a reserved track. After the majority of the interurban network was dismantled in the 1950s and 1960s, the remainig 3 units of this kind (124,125 and 128) found work on Milan - Cusano Milanino line, until August 1998 when this line was closed to permit building of parking lots. Today these 3 cars are stored in bad condition in Desio depot, and no certain future is assured for these cars.
Stefano continued with informatio about the "blocatto" trains. In 1961 ATM decided to set up some interurban blocked combinations to solve the problem of reversing direction at the terminals of the remaining few lines of the network. Since it was not advisable to spend more money on lines of uncertain future, the company rebuilt original cars of the 500 and 130 series, bi-directional units of 1953 and 1941 respectively. So from a total of 22 units came 22 blocked trains, where the old motor cars were put, as in a sandwich, between 2 old rebuilt coaches from various series. The result were trains of 3 cars each, with MU possibility. These trains started on the Milan - Vimercate and Trezzo d'A. lines. In 1969 tramcars were substituted on this network. Some "bloccato trains" were transferred to the Brianza lines. Here they still are in revenue service, but many rebuilding of the carbodies have change their original status. Of the oldest series, those using 130 series motor cars, which are 800 series "bloccato", just 3 are in use. So, in 2000, there are still 15 trains dating from 1953 which, every day, run amidst the chaotic traffic of the suburbs. This, as you can guess, is a real problem. Brake systems and comfort are quite old. And, overall, ATM is planning to close these remaining 2 interurban lines, the real last 2 in Italy!!! So guys, run here to catch the last shots of this Italian rarity!! Too late.
Stefano also gives us information about the 700 type single-truck cars, the last remaining in Italy. They were built in 1947 using old wood cars of type 600 dating back to 1925-26. These cars were converted after the end of regular passenger service into sand cars or emergency cars. So today all the 20 trams are in service, but only in the winter months, when moisture and leaves cause problems to the service. Five units are painted gray and usually trail some flatcars for rails or other trailer cars to clear track or to weld rails. Two cars (711 and 701) still have the original passenger characteristics, so they can be used for special services.
The Milan city cars were very similar to American Peter Witt cars used in Eastern cities. They have become a popular import for heritage lines in the United States.
Ivan Furlanis writes of the famous Milano "Peter Witt", also know as 1928 or Ventotto (i.e. Twentyeight). This kind of car is the typical Milano tram. The construction started in 1927 with two prototypes (numbered as 1501 and 1502), when the municipal tramways decided to replace all the two axles cars to face the grow of the traffic, and continued from 1928 to 1930, with 500 series units (numbers: 1503-2002), plus a unit delivered by the Bruxelles tramways. The cars were built by several constructors: Carmianti e Toselli, Breda, Officine Meccaniche di Reggio Emilia, OM, Tallero, Officine Meccaniche Lodigiane. The motors were built by Ansaldo and TIBB, the bogies by FIAT. At first about 120 cars were painted in cream and light brown, but soon all had to be painted in light and dark green, as the Transit Ministry wanted. The Ventotto were a great success: the traffic increased a lot so most of the two axles cars remained in service until the '60s. In 1931 a single size exit door was opened at the rear end of cars 1529 and 1530, followed by another 20 units. In 1935 it was decided to add this new door on all the trams. In 1937 it was decided to put the entry at the rear end of all the trams, trolleybuses and buses. Also the Ventotto were modified with full size doors at the rear end of the units in original condition, or the widening of the existing single door on the units modified in the years 1931-37. In 1940 all the "Peter Witts" had three full size doors. In 1944 24 Ventotto were rebuilt into trailers. At the end of World War II, these trailers were rebuilt into motor cars. During the rebuilding of the several cars damaged by bombs, the ATM (Azienda Tramviaria Municipale, i.e. Municipal Tramway Authority) decided to install on about 100 Ventotto an automatic control, called APN. The APN units were equipped also with elastic wheels. In 1970 it was decided to repaint all the trams, trolleybuses and buses in orange. The repainting lasted until 1978. In 1970 it was also decided to replace the trolley poles with pantographs. Also this rebuilding lasted until 1978. During the same period all the APN and 3 unrebuilt units were scrapped. Other cars in the following years were set aside, and today about 180 cars are still in service. But the end is close: the arrival of the 26 Eurotram and the 54 Sirio in the near future means retirements. Some Ventotto are used today for special services. Two of them (1723 and 1847) run on the tourist route 20 and have been repainted in light and dark green. The 1927 is the "Scuolaintram" (i.e. school on tram). Another special unit is the 1702, painted in white. And finally there is the 1503, rebuilt in the aspect of the years 1928-1930 in light yellow and cream colors and with two doors.
1796 and 1973 were permanently articulated in 1984 and numbered 4500. It was the first low floor Italian tram.
1515, 1834, and several others are part of the fleet in San Francisco. 2001 is now in San Jose, CA.
1515 is a San Francisco heritage car.
Stefano also provided information on 4601 - 4613 and 4714 - 4733. These cars are articulated trams built in 1955/60 using PCC technology by Breda, OMS and TIBB. They solved the problems of the high number of passengers in peak-hours on some lines of the Milanese network. Still today, after some modifications on the carbody, they are used on 29/30 circular line instead of 1928 type cars. Before the coming of "jumbo" trams, these were the newest cars on city rails. All units are currently in service.
5112 was built by Ansaldo/GTE in 1950. It was retired.
5137 was built by Ansaldo/CGE in 1950. It is now a heritage car.
5309 was built by Breda/CGE/TIBB in 1955.
5316 was built by Breda/CGE/TIBB in 1955.
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