The International Steam Pages

Steam in Italy 2011-2

Filippo Ricci writes of the current scene and also provides the pictures. The non-steam San Marino section was updated on 16th June 2012.


The tightening both in budget and regulations started in 2010 by the Italian State Railways (FS) has continued. This means that fewer and fewer steam-hauled trains venture on the mainline network.

As a result by the start of 2012 the only two places where steam excursions run on a regular basis are the two preserved lines Ferrovia Basso Sebino ( - link dead by 26th April 2014) and Ferrovia Val d'Orcia ( - link dead by 26th April 2014). On the motive power front the situation stood still and there has been a policy of transfer of the less used locomotives to replace the ones with expired boiler certificate elsewhere. The only engine returned to traffic is 2-6-0 625 012 in Rome, see (

Some pictures and consideration on the situation in my region

The Adriavapore society lost its base in Rimini shed upon which there are numerous redeveloping schemes being discussed. Worse still there had been a concerted effort to ban steam in the region Emilia-Romagna by both political and railway authorities. This means that Adriavapore did only a pair of excursions in the Autumn and the SAFRE society in Reggio Emilia stood completely still. The only steam trains to work in the area have been excursions for foreign enthusiast groups on the Rimini-Faenza-Florence stretch which were run in both April 2011 and April 2012.

Atmospheric twilight in Rimini as 741 120 is in steam waiting to run to Florence the next morning (10/04/2012, Filippo Ricci).

This state of affairs meant that I had to search further afield for steam and I got involved in the San Marino Railway preservation society (see below). On September I was in Pistoia for the annual open day there and I got mixed feelings: the number and variety of locomotives on display was impressive, no less than 18 locomotives of ten different classes plus numerous modern traction heritage engines. However no authorisation was granted to put up a steam hauled shuttle between the station and the depot so there were no engines in steam; moreover as you can see from the list below very few of the engines on display are steamable.

Diminutive shunter 0-6-0T No.835 088 and huge express 2-8-2 No.746 038 stand side by side in Pistoia shed (24/09/2011 Filippo Ricci).

Engines seen:

746 038 2-8-2 to be restored
685 089 2-6-2 awaiting minor repairs
685 196 2-6-2 steamable
685 222 2-6-2 derelict
625 054 2-6-0 awaiting restoration
625 055 2-6-0 awaiting restoration
625 101 2-6-0 awaiting restoration
625 142 2-6-0 steamable
625 308 2-6-0 dismantled under restoration
640 003 2-6-0 steamable
640 148 2-6-0 awaiting overhaul
740 244 2-8-0 awaiting repairs (done 04/2012)
740 286 2-8-0 derelict
741 120 2-8-0 steamable
744 118 2-8-0 cosmetically restored
835 088 0-6-0T cosmetically restored
940 008 2-8-2 derelict
981 008 0-6-0RT derelict

0-6-0RT No.981 008 in Pistoia shed (24/09/2011,Filippo Ricci).

Present on the site but not seen*

625 177 2-6-0 awaiting repairs
740 254 2-8-0 derelict?
940 026 2-8-2T derelict?
* possibly hidden inside buildings, data retrieved from

A hope for the future: restored components of 2-6-0 No.625 308 awaiting refitting (Pistoia 24/09/2011, Filippo Ricci).

On October 8th I was in Turin for an one-off open day at Torino Smistamento for the centenary of that shed. Here they managed to run the shuttle with this odd combination of motive power of FS 940 030 2-8-2T and MFP n.3 a n 0-6-0WT which worked for a local private line (Grignasco-Coggiola), then for the Savona port authority before being preserved by the MuseoFerroviarioPiemontese. The line up of heritage modern traction was impressive but only two cold steam locos were present namely FS 640 143 2-6-0 (awaiting overhaul) and FS 743 283, a Crostiboilered 2-8-0 (cosmetically restored).

2-8-0 No.743 283 stands near one of the diesels that replaced it, now an heritage loco itself (Turin, 08/10/2011, Filippo Ricci).

The odd partners: 0-6-0WT No.3…

...and 2-8-2 No.940 030 (Turin, 08/10/2011, Filippo Ricci)

San Marino

From 1932 to 1944 a railway operated between the State of San Marino and the coastal town of Rimini. It was 950mm gauge, electrified with 3000V dc and the rolling stock comprised four motor coaches, six coaches and 18 freight wagons.

The line was damaged during the war and never reopened but the majority of rolling stock remained hidden and slowly decaying inside the Montale tunnel near San Marino station. Many projects were put forward to reopen the line but the only development was the restoration of a coach in 1983 which now resides on Valdragone viaduct.

Coach No.AB 51 on Valdragone viaduct (San Marino, 06/01/2012, Filippo Ricci).

In December 2009 a group was formed on Facebook to promote interest on the line and quickly attracted more than a thousand members. The San Marino government took notice of this interest and started a very ambitious project: empty the Montale tunnel of the rolling stock and restore the tunnel and two brief sections fore and aft to run a restored motor coach at weekends and festivities while providing a foot and cycle path when the train will not be running.

Some moments of the extraction of No. AB 03 from the tunnel (San Marino 08/06/2011, Filippo Ricci)

Accordingly the tunnel was emptied in June 2011 and the tunnel opened to foot and cycle traffic from October 2011 then, in January 2012, the motor coach AB.03 was sent to a firm in Rome for complete rebuilding. You can follow the progress on the site of the association that stemmed from the Facebook group here: (link broken by 25th October 2016). It is hoped to have it ready for June 12th and the 80th anniversary of the inaugural run which will see great celebrations and a lot of special events.

The restored tunnel and cleared trackbed ready for track laying (San Marino 06/01/2012, Filippo Ricci).

Filippo adds "I went to San Marino on 9th June 2012 for a conference and what I saw left me speechless. During the conference I had a look at the decoration above the stage depicting significant moments of San Marino history including the railway. I heard that they had laid tracks and a new halt is being completed with a platform and benches near the lower portal of the tunnel and the old poles removed for refurbishment. At the other end of the tunnel you can see the new tracks under the sign which translated means “Station Plaza”. Meanwhile the railcar is almost ready in Rome, they hoped to have it in San Marino on 12th June and to perform the inaugural run in late June/ early July. You can follow the story on the SM TV website which includes some video clips

Rob Dickinson