The International Steam Pages

Deposito Rotabili Storici di Pistoia, Italy, 2015

James Waite writes

I visited the FS heritage depot at Pistoia, the Deposito Rotabili Storici di Pistoia, on 6th June 2015. Pistoia loco depot was opened in the 19th century. It used to be an important place where the line west from Florence towards Lucca joined the Porrettana, a winding railway south through the mountains from Bologna which was built shortly after the reunification of Italy to provide the first rail link between the north and the centre of Italy. The Porrettana lost its importance after the opening of the Bologna to Florence Direttissima line in 1934 and even more so after the new deep-level Bologna-Florence high speed line opened in 2009. The depot closed as a conventional loco shed in the mid-1990's and now serves both as the Fondazione FS's heritage restoration and servicing depot for central Italy and also as a base for the Italvapore club which owns several ex-FS locos. The impressive collection there has gradually come in from much of northern and central Italy and in a few cases from further afield. Much of the land and some of the old buildings were sold off some years ago for highway development. Fortunately the turntable and two repair shops close to the main line remain. 

These photos show:-

0-6-0RT 891 006 (Breda 1916/1922) from the Paola-Cosenza rack line in Calabria. Note the cogwheel in the left foreground.

2-6-0 625 101 (Saronno 484/1914) which spent many years at the old Trastevere station in Rome.

0-6-0T 835 088 (Breda 1017/1908) which used to be plinthed at Brisighella in Emilia Romagna.

2-8-2 746 038 (Breda 2010/1922), formerly plinthed at Porto Vescovo works in Verona.

2-8-2T 940 008 (OMNap 59/1922) formerly kept at Sulmona depot where it was used as a source of spares for two other 940 class locos 

2-6-0 640 003 (BMAG 3835/1907) inside the main repair shop. This loco used to be kept at Turin Central shed and I was told it's the only loco at Pistoia currently in working order.

Three views of 2-8-0 744 118 (OM 883/1928) and one of the FS's most modern standard gauge locos. Note the inside Caprotti valve gear. This loco used to be an exhibit at Italy's National Railway Museum at Pietrarsa, near Naples, and may eventually be restored to working order.

2-6-0 625 142 (Ansaldo 1278/1922) which used to be a working museum loco based at Florence, not far from Pistoia.

2-6-0 640 148 (Breda 1272/1911) which has been at Pistoia for many years.

2-6-0 625 055 (Ansaldo 975/1912), another long-term resident at Pistoia.

2-6-0 625 054 (Ansaldo 974/1912), formerly at Fiore works at Caserta in Campania and the last loco in Italy in commercial service.

A 685 class 2-8-2 and a 740 class 2-8-0 stored as sources of spare parts. I couldn't make out their numbers.

2-8-0 740 254 (Saronno 552/1919), another another long-term resident at Pistoia. More than 460 of these locos were built and no fewer than 51 have been preserved.

2-6-2 685 089. This used to be a runner until recently but is now marked as "US" on the depot's loco board.

2-6-0 625 177 undergoing heavy repair in the smaller repair shop. This loco was operating the "Treno Blu" tourist train out of Bergamo when we visited in 2008 .

There are also quite a number of historic diesel and electric locos and trains at the depot as well as period rolling stock.

The depot's loco board.

The depot isn't normally open to the public except at an annual open day, usually in the autumn, or occasionally for special events organised by Italvapore. Please don't just wander in without prior arrangement at other times - there's security about to try to deter graffiti and vandalism and the buildings are kept firmly locked up.

Rob Dickinson