Discussion in 'International Heritage Railways/Tramways' started by Saint, Jul 4, 2017.
Some great work going on there
Thank you, thank you very much.
Anyway, I just got some pictures from the last open day.
n the shuffling madness
Of the locomotive breath...
Knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door (visitors patiently wait to enter. Many, many, many thanks to these gentle persons!)
But don't tell me there's nothing coming, you don't fool me...
If you're happy and you know, sanitize your hands! (full anti-pandemic procedures where applied during the whole day. We don't want to be linked with sad memories...)
We're gonna rock around the turntable today...
Comfort food for those waiting... [I swear, no more songs!]
Well and less know details of out locomotive. The constructor plate (Ernesto Breda) is well known, but the coal bunker in the left water tank is much less known. The engine is old enough to have the driver on the right side.
I praise our visitors that patiently waited in queue.
The engine on the platform with details of old and light rail chairs, actually no chair, just a plate and bolt.
Stupendo! After moving house I see that it's now only 3 1/2 hours drive to Primolano. I shall have a chat with the folks at Novegro this weekend to see if anyone fancies a trip.
We will have next open days on October 10th. Please, feel free to contact me if you think I can provide useful informations.
Saturday: cleaning up the mess
Saturday a volunteer team cleaned up the fire tubes of the 880.001 and that was the yard just after cleaning the boiler [© Luca Pettinato/SVF].
but just a few our after the yard was clean again [Copyleft Gianozia Oriantale/SVF]
The inside of the workshop wagon before tiding up [© Luca Girardi/SVF] :
And after [© Luca Girardi/SVF] :
One last thing about the previous Open Day, we would like to thank Mr. Van Sten, our Dutch member, for being part of the Open Day! He holds a record now!
Sunday: Open Day in "A" Signal Box.
We had a successful open day in Cabina A despite pandemic limitations and bad weather in the afternoon, but in the morning the weather was fine and our visitors were able to enjoy the panorama of the station . We limited the admission to 4 visitors outside and 4 inside. As you may see, waiting outside was not that bad.
One of our visitor is a professional train dispatcher, we are glad that we pleased such a competent attendance by showing the full procedure required to set up the required route by operating first point levers, then the appropriate route lever that freezes the implied point levers and those other point and route levers that may conflict with the newly created route. Nicolò, the guy that is doing most of the work to restore the signal box, first explains the route the train would have performed and then let the visitors move the levers. Each point lever ha to be moved in steps, as in the real life: check that you control the device - first short step -, command the point movement, and wait for the movement to end - longer step, a warning sound plays - and finally complete the movement after the relays have commuted and the sound stop. Nicolò explained also the other behaviour of the device that have not yet re-activated, i.e. setting again a danger a signal set to clear (requires unlocking the lever by the train exiting the route). Once the lever is again in the danger position, the route can be "destroyed" and the point lever freed.
After showing the (former) command and control devices for the western part of Padua railway station, Nicolò shows how the Manual Block Device operated between two different stations. This device is both a telegraph for requesting permission, the one for giving permission and the block device all in one single box. With this device is the train itself that acts ad a token.
Our "Istrumenti di blocco FS" (FS Block Devices) come from a two track line, so giving permission does not block you when attempting to require permission of the other lever of a device where you gave permission.
Ant this all for now. We plan also to present our modelling branch. Do not expect to see great layout, we just tested that the tracks work. What will be a success will be to have visitors and to attract them to our activities.
Hopefully planning to be there on the 10th October. I had a long chat with Marco M at Novegro.
We are a museum.
We are officially a museum, having being recognized as such by Veneto Region. This is an important milestone because it will ease the founding proce$$. Furthermore we found a sponsor, Antenore Energia, and this is a good news too.
C'mon baby light my fire
On Sunday 10/10/2021 we staged the last open door for 2021. Since we do not run train on a per-day basis, we light and shut down the 880 001 engine for each open door event. This is a process that starts Friday night, when the engine is shunted outside the shed, usually by the Sogliola.
[All the above pictures are © Luca Pettinato / SVF]
Saturday is the clean up, set up and test day. For the next Sunday Open Day the main consist will be composed by our two passenger coaches (two axle car first) and the British Loading Gauge van, to represent the bicycle transporting section of the train. The fourth van was not added since we do not have very long tracks available and having more engine puffing is preferable.
One of the two bike-draisines parked at the end of the track (until we add some more meter of Truck). Thee sign says "this 1945 quadricycle is in load for use from RFI to Società Veneta Veneta Ferrovie and preserved in the Pimolano Locomotive Shed'
And finally we had our last Open Day (but for 2021 only). We had a very nice weather, even if cold when not directly lit by the sun.
The operation started with a briefing from Federico, our chairman.
Then we manned al the stations, including the reception, where the access procedures are enforced according pandemic rulings. And then ...
... our esteemed visitors, who were free to visit the site, the coaches under a pleasing sun. The best thing for our visitors where the maneuvers of the rolling stock:
https://youtu.be/HbzjwU8K61k the Valsugana Touristic Train demo consist maneuvers in the yard;
https://youtu.be/ZcVvzRVsjYU and taken from the other side, on the loading platform;
https://youtu.be/Iqh4ONs1b0c the 880.001 crosses the double switch that is even older than the engine, having being built at the end of the 19th century
Our internal combustion vehicles had their parade too:
I had the luck that Damiano, driving the yellow draisine, had to run first rearwards, so he was more than happy to hitch me a ride as front semi-intelligent-early-warning-system
A note about the cube, the second vehicle in the parade. I discovered - during a ride - that it is fitted with a cab-operated link that, once repaired, will let us couple/uncouple it without leaving the engine.
Next week we will mothball the engine for winter, the Wednesday before the Open Day we had severe bad weather and the snow appeared on the mountains, so it's better to hurry up.
We have activities planned for the scale model branch, we will have a sort of Open Evening in the room where "H0 methadone" is administered to the more serious cases of railway addiction, and then we will show our, now still embrional, layout in a Mall, that will require an effort comparable or superior to that of a fair since we will need to "man the stations" during all opening hours for a week. But we will be closer to XMas...
I'm sorry I did not make it to Primolano on Sunday. Family matters got in the way, skipping the mass for the mother in law's passing would have not been a good idea for future railway days... Lovely pictures. I know a few of the live steam group attended and were very impressed. One day I will get to Primolano.
Condolences from SVF to you and (mostly) to your wife.
I understand fully, my mother in law is now like a toy with depleted batteries...
Don't worry, we'll be back . Who knows, the future could bless us with a sincere politician that will let us turn that switch to the railway network and passenger transport during the Open Days.
I find your posts very interesting - keep them coming and best wishes to the project!
A visitor video, in the end someone that could be Michelin Bibendum or the Marshmallow man from Ghostbusters leave the yellow inspection vehicle
While the 880.001 and the "Cube" have been readied for the incoming winter, having the boiler or the cooling system emptied, in Padua Nicolò uses some spare parts salvaged from a donor recovered in Primolano and reactivated another lever in the Cabina A.
Discs to rebuild a damaged electric combiner, on the floor, near the bottles, a combiner shaft.
E pluribus unum! From parts salvaged, a functioning combiner is rebuilt, ready to be refitted in the lever frame
Multiple combiners in the frame.
A couple of photos from Primolano in December 2015. The shed is just visible to the right of the loco in the first photo. The water crane worked but had frozen in position so couldn't move to water the loco!
It would be great to finally see 880.001 out on the line, it's absolutely stunning.
@Saint has almost certainly seen them, but there are some brilliant films on YouTube of the line in steam days, filmed by a Swiss chap called Arnold Siegrist.
True. The building on the left is the unused "Ferrhotel" (Railway hotel) and was meant to host FS service persons when there were early morning trains starting from Primolano. Sadly it was built but scarcerly used.
And sadly, that part of the station is outside our jurisdiction even if we have several spaces on loan of use within the station building. There is work to be done there too, both to create housing for the volunteers and an exhibit of memorabilia and relics.
The train in the picture belongs to "Fondazione FS", a foundation owning a very large, single company collection of rolling stock used both for museum exhibits - mostly in Pietrarsa Railwat Museum and on loan to Leonardo da Vinci museum in Milano - and active. I think this collection could be larger that that in Didcot since includes steam engines, electric engines, diesel engines, coaches, DMUs and EMUs, included the fast ETR 220 - a rebuilt ETR 200, speed record holder in the past - the fabulous ETR 300 "Settebello" (Seven of Diamonds, a special card in some popular games), currently under restoration and the smaller (4 units instead of 7) Etr250 "Arlecchino" (Harlequin, the color of the seats change in each unit, if I am right they are red, green, blue and brown).
This is the hardest problem. Italy had always a centrally-controlled railway system, even when we had private companies in the 19th century and there was never something like the "Light Railway Act". Therefore, even today, railways are regulated by a bureaucratic central Authority that regulated that trains on an active line must be manned by personnel not only qualified, but also that works for a licensed railway company, at least the engineer and the guard (the fireman may be a volunteer qualified to handle steam generators). And when you fall in a field that has no explicit rule, it is even worse, because nothing prevents someone from interpreting existing rules the way he/she thinks suits the case, and those interpretation might either allow or prohibit something, and in this case is a problem because the times to sort out if the prohibition is fair or not are looooong. That's why we do not carry passengers on our own rails, because we knew that in some interpretations, even our own rails, once passengers are on board the train, must be considered as "mainline", requiring again the kind of professional personnel we need to take the train on the Valsugana railway, as planned since 2006...
The first is a video from a visitor with the hobby of railway videos (toward the end it shows me leaving the yellow draisine). The other are historic documents, showing the last steam services on the northern part of the line. Whenever rolling stock is gray, they are ballast trains. The tank engine belongs to the 940 class, a tank version of the 740 class shown in the pictures in the original post.
The third one has some peculiar images, like those with the decauville that served the coaling crane in Trento or the mechanincal signal and repeaters in Pergine.
Pictures taken a few minutes ago by Luca Pettinato [© Luca Pettinato/SVF] of the Nicolò workin to restore combiners in the Cabina A lever frame
(Nicolò is also the guy who turns the switch at the beginning of the long video a visitor made during our last OpenDay)
We are back again, work has restarted in Primolano, after a snowy winter. Volunteers have restarted to work on our infrastructure and the turntable is being fitted with polymers mulch to prevent weed invasion.
while the sun shines over the shed is now pleasing to work in the open air, but as soon as you move in a shadowed area or the sun disappears behind a mountain, you immediately feel the cold.
In the previous post I already told about the restoration of the A signal box. The leader of the project is the young Nicolò, a signaling enthusiast, almost maniac. Now he not only leads the A signal box restoration work (see below), but he's now a trainee in the RFI (Italian counterpart of Network Rail) following the station master career. But his enthusiasm is so great he even managed to carry some fellow trainees and one instructor of his, and that instructor is now a new SVF member. And now some news from the signal box restoration works.
We have now several levers that can be operated like when the signal box was active, and we are working on a switchboard that will let us simulate train movement either by computer simulation or by manually operating switches. This will enable realistic demonstrations of the original equipment operations.
In this short video levers 15 (point) 31 (facing point lock) and 32 (signal) are operated in sequence and finally you can see the inner working of a light signal being restored.
And this is a restored panel of electro-mechanical relais restored in the rack:
and finally a cabinet restored after a 16 year of almost total neglection
Some of these button were to be handled with extreme care. "Tex" labeled buttons were used to enable a train to proceed through a level crossing even if the barriers were open.
In the next week we will be at Verona fair Model Expo, for the first time after the pandemic, and hopefully that will be the first of several events for 2022!
A few things happened from the last post, omitting Volodia Puteo madness.
Something a bit unexpected happened. Our president had to step back due personal commitments, but retains his position as fellow. A new president has been elected, and Marco, the new president, committed himself to even increase harmony and morale in the association since fully realizing our final goal is damn difficult. We knew it when we started but working on it is useful.
Italian Fondazione FS, maybe the owner of the single largest collection of preserved rolling stock, ranging from esposition grade steam locomotives and three phase powered electric ones to early high speed DMUs like ETR 250 and ETR 300, acquired one of the two Italian railway magazines, Tutto Treno. It happens that two of our fellows work for that magazine, let's see what will happen. For sure the magazine will have access to all the archives of Fondazione FS and Fondazione FS has now a competent, expert and professional staff to publish that stuff.
 Volodia is the Russian diminutive of Vladimir, Puteo is a word trick hard to translate because "puteo" and "putin" can be seen as two forms of the same word meaning "small child" in Veneto dialect, with "putin" being either less common or a correctly created neologism (sorry, linguistics are not my field of expertise).
Back to our work
The mulch is now completed, this will ease the turntable maintenance
Some new equipment was installed in the shed, a new large compressed air reservoir, that will power useful tools.
And now we have also the long awaited bench vice!
A neat shed, isn't it?
And after working, Luca enjoyed a ride on our 1945 railway drasine.
Do you recall the restoration of Signal Box "A" ? Now Corrado is completing a control panel that will simulate the presence of trains on the track, either manually or computer controlled. This will complete the simulation of the workings of the signal box.
And we are going to leverage more and more the modeling branch of the association as an advertising tool for the other activities. Here is our banner in a recent market/exhibit in Piazzola sul Brenta.
Our motto is "I sogni son fatti d'acciaio" (Dreams are made of steel), and maybe we could use it even this way:
Moving on and improving. We finally started our open days seasons. Only 3 dates for Primolano (one, yesterday, with 880.001 inactive), the other ones are September 11th (September 18th in case of Bad Weather on Sept. 11th) and Cabina A has been opened on Jun 5th and will be open on July 3rd, September 4th and October 2nd. Should you plan a trip to Italy, consider including Padua or Primolano in your visit.
In Cabina A restoration goes ahead thank to our young Nicolò, now station-master-in-training in RFI. Thanks to his work we have now several levers active and not only this. At this time we replicated two of the switches that were used by the Padua Station Master to communicate orders to Cabina A, and now they are included in our simulation of the traffic where visitors can manouver the lever to create "itinerari" (lit. itinerary - arrival or departure route) e "instradamenti" (lit. routing - a route within the station boundaries): currently in the simulation the "Station Master" first requires a routing from the locomotive depot to the first platform, then this routing must be destroyed before the "station master request" to set the switches and signals to let the train in platform one leave for Bologna. With a new device added to the signal box, we can now simulate the trains moving on the graphical depiction of the rail. In addition, when lever controlling the start signal toward Bologna is set to "clear", a light semaphore in the room turns from red to green.
A young visitors learn how to move the levers to complete a roting
And now Nicolò shows to the young visitors which lights will change state on the panel. The light in the background, over the "Istrumenti di Blocco FS" (the red boxes) is the hearth of a semaphore used to show the light turning green when the semaphore controlling lever is moved in the "clear" position. The two black switches on the cabinet are those actually simulating the Station Master orders. Please note that the center cabinet has the top left device mount empty. Last Nicolò change was to automate the expiration of the order when the corresponding maneuver has been completed using a relay that he placed there. And you can see the relay commuting in this short clip (remember, top left one) https://youtube.com/shorts/MoJ1OY_PC4M?feature=share.
The visitor can see the synoptic table changing thanks an extra device that was built following Nicolò instruction and that was tested in the last Open Door. It will have a better an smarted placement in the future
The "Monster" switchboard, please notice the copy of the rails diagrams. Switches are used to manually simulate the train presence on a train section. Buttons are used to simulate ground devices that the train activates when passes on them. In Cabina A simulation of a train leaving for Bologna, the top right button simulates the pedal that the train presses when passes under the starting signal. This pressure "communicates" to the control device that the train has entered the section and in our simulation the signal turns fro red to green.
All the visitors were really pleased of the visit and of the terse and expert explanation supplied by our staff, even the most demanding ones, either RFI employees or member of the famous Gruppo Ferromodellistico Pistoiese (Pistoia is one of the main preservation hub of Fondazione FS).
And let's now talk about real trains. On Jun 12 we had or first open day for 2022. We did not have a flooding of visitors, bu the real action has happened on the previous Saturday. The turntable mulch has been completed
and new barriers, delimiting the areas safe for the visitors are set (see them left of the cube).
We also had an assessment of the status and the available spare parts for the DE 424 and the response is promising.
Hopes are to restart it on 2023.
Latest from SVF...
On July 3rd we had the Cabina A Open Day. We were (are) experiencing African heat and this may have stopped home some would-be visitor, but all those who came were really impressed since now we can operate almost all the levers on the frame giving the proper feeling to the operator, furthermore additional circuits provide the feedback that once where provided by the devices in the yard.
We plan to integrate more device with the frame (i.e. ground signals, BEM ("Blocco Elettrico Manuale" - Manual operated electric block instruyment) so that we will be able to give more visual feedback (with the ground signal) and fully replicate all the operations required to send a train on one of the lines connected to the western part of Padua Station. This is not as easy as one may expect. Think about the track diagram: according to the regulations, all the lights on the panel must be lit unless a train occupies the sectio; with 3 lights for a module and a section comprising one or more modules on the track diagram panel, with each tiny bulb consuming one watt, we would have had a powere requirement of 570 watt just to light the panel. Leds are a viable alternative, but first you have to find the right warm white led model, then design a circuit that solves the problems coming from having a power source that is AC and not DC: light flickering may be solved by adding a condenser that acts a sort of electric flywheel, but then the led does not turn off sharply, and you can add one more relais to cut short the power to the led when the AC current goes off. But we are working on this.
We also recovered the original switchboard that was used by the station master, but it requires restoration of the electric switches whose contact point were badly damaged when the panel was turned into a wall decoration.
We had some young special visitors on an "a strange" day in the week, Wednesday. We do not have activities outside the week end, since most members should take a day off to man the event. But in this case the visitors may be handled by a team small enough, and it was done. The children participating to the summer activities of the parish of a neighboring town, Arsiè, visited our premises in Primolano.
Volunteers told about the various rolling stock, how old the engines, wagons and coaches were, when and for what they where used and replied to all the questions. What impressed the children most was what was completely new for them: when visiting the coaches they were amused by the wooden seats, the hand brake wheel (no, sorry it is not a steering wheel ) and by how and where the toiled discharged... its contents.
But what charmed them more, more than the steam engine itself - some appear indeed in movies, more than the small diesel shunters, Sogliola and Cubo, where the small yellow Daisy, the T500 Fiat draisine - built with components from the famous old Fiat 500 runabout and the 850 minivan. And coal. Children went really crazy for the first real coal they have seen, going to seek little chunks it among the ballast. The parents will be delighted by this love for the coal . We hope that many of them will persuade their parents to came and visit us again in September, when the 880 will be chuffing along the tracks.
Still on Wednesday, after lunch, volunteers set up the border fences. Foir the first time after Covid outbreak I was able to act again as "cuciniere".
These fences clearly show the part that RFI contractors can use and what is our area.
Finally, on a more usual saturday, more volunteers started distributing a new load of gravel on the turntable pit floor:
A lot of time since I wrote last post. That's because I am lazy and because my telephone has too little memory and I have to discard photos before having a chance to use them (80% - 20%).
What happened in the meanwhile?
We had open days of course. This year we had only 3 of them in Primolano, and the biggest problem is that you need people from Friday evening to stage a Sunday event with the 880 active. It's an issue we need to address. Nevertheless, Primolano Museum continues to receive 4 or 5 star reviews on Google Business and our last open day in Primolano was successful indeed. We also hosted a modeling group from Vicenza with their "theatre layout"
The presence counter stopped over 600
And now time to talk about our signal box.
As you cansee, a lot of lights on the panel. That was a long work for Corrado who prepared all the LEDs that replaced the light bulbs that were used, cutting the power consumption. The work is not over, but you see the results. Furthermore we can turn the lights on (track free) and off (track occupied by a train) to simulate the train movements. At this time we can simulate a locomotive leading the depot (far right, mid height) reaching track 1 (topmost track) where a train is waiting for an engine, then departing to Bologna. This simulation does not involve just lights going off and on. The real thing is maneuvering all the levers to set the points, create/declare a path and set the signals, and each lever has the appropriate behavior, i.e. when moving a point lever, the firs short movement is for checking that the lever can move, that there's no train over the switch; if there's no train then you can move the lever further but not to the final position because you have to wait for "retaking control" of the point (an alarm buzzes), that is the point movement has completed -we simulated this with a time delay- and finally the lever can be moved in the final position. And visitors are encouraged to manouver the levers.
This is a picture we are proud, especially Corrado (left) and Nicolò (black polo) who have worked so hard to reactivate the lever frame. In the group there's Mr. Cristiano Zenato, MSc, (gray polo possibly the greatest living expert of Italian railway signaling) who visited our signal box during our last open day and was positively impressed by the restoration work. Mr. Zenato has just completed an operating installation in the Settimo Milanese premises of the Leonardo Da Vinci Science Museum, Milan. This installation involves two electromechanical semaphores and the instruments that operated them on a single track section of a two track mainline and was tasked by Fondazione FS to restore a little frame for teh Pietrarsa museum.
Below, another moment during the open day and the WWII bomb shelter
And finally, here we seen Pietro fitting the telephone. Yes, a fully operational old dial telephone that again can do and receive calls. Of course, there's a little fo hidden electronic magic!
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