FS Class E.444

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FS class E.444
444072-xx0595bari copia.jpg
An E.444 in Bari Centrale station in 1995.
Specifications
Power type Electric
Build date 1965-1975
UIC classification Bo-Bo
Wheel diameter 1.250 m (49.21 in)
Wheelbase 9.000 m (29 ft 6.3 in) between bogies
3.020 m (9 ft 10.9 in) between axles on each bogie
Length 16.840 m (55 ft 3.0 in)
Width 3.020 m (9 ft 10.9 in)
Height 4.300 m (14 ft 1.3 in)
Locomotive weight 83 t (82 long tons; 91 short tons)
Electric system(s) 3,000 V DC Catenary
Current collection
method
Pantograph
Traction motors DC series
Transmission 41/77 gear ratio
Maximum speed 200 km/h (120 mph)
Power output 4,272 kW (5,729 hp)
Tractive effort 201 kN (45,000 lbf)
Safety systems RSC4; SCMT
Career
Operator(s) FS Trenitalia
Number in class 117[1]
Nicknames "Tartaruga" (Turtle)
First run 1967
Disposition updated as E.444R[2]
FS class E.444R
FS Class E444-078 at Venezia Santa Lucia, 2008.JPG
An E.444R at Venezia Santa Lucia station in 2008.
Specifications
Power type Electric
Build date 1989-
UIC classification Bo-Bo
Wheel diameter 1.250 m (49.21 in)
Wheelbase 9.000 m (29 ft 6.3 in) between bogie pivots
3.020 m (9 ft 10.9 in) between axles on each bogie
Length 17.120 m (56 ft 2.0 in)
Width 3.020 m (9 ft 10.9 in)
Height 4.300 m (14 ft 1.3 in)
Locomotive weight 84 t (83 long tons; 93 short tons)
Electric system(s) 3,000 V DC Catenary
Current collection
method
Pantograph
Traction motors DC series
Transmission 42/75 gear ratio
Maximum speed 200 km/h (120 mph)
Power output 4,272 kW (5,729 hp)
Tractive effort 201 kN (45,000 lbf)
Career
Operator(s) FS Trenitalia
Number in class 97
First run 1989
Disposition In service

The FS E.444 is a class of Italian railways electric locomotives. They were introduced in the course of the 1960 until 1975. Starting from 1995, all E.444s were upgraded as E.444R.

The locomotives are nicknamed Tartaruga (turtle).

History[edit]

E.444 standard[edit]

The E.444 locomotive was designed in the 1960s as the first Italian electric locomotive capable to reach 200 km/h (120 mph) (in that period first high-speed trains like the Japanese Shinkansen and the French TGV were appearing). Italian railways could boast fast trains like the ETR 200, but they were getting old and the Pendolino project was just moving its first phaces.

The first 4 prototypes, built at Savigliano, made their debut in 1967-1968: their power output 3,000 kW (4,000 hp) was respectable for the time, but they proved unable to held the fast international services required for the new locomotive, and the bogies were limited to 180 km/h (110 mph). They proved anyway that Italian industry could produce locomotive capable of more than 200 km/h (120 mph)[3] was registered on November 8, 1967 in the maiden trip Rome-Milan.

The series production saw the introduction of the more powerful T750 motors, which boosted the power to 4,200 kW (5,600 hp), while the boogies were upgraded for 200 km/h (120 mph). The frontal part was improved and made more aerodynamic. A characteristic livery with two blue stripes on a pale grey background was adopted. The first 50 units proved successful, and the Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) ordered 60 more to be built starting from 1972. 16 units were adapted for feeding at 1,5 kV DC. During 1974 two locomotives (units 056 and 057) were provided with a "shunt chopper" system (later the modifications applied were rolled back, making the two units identical to standard once again), while in 1975 the E.444.005 adopted a "full chopper" electronic system, which was later also adopted on the E.632/633 classes, and which granted a 5,000 kW (6,700 hp) peak power.

Curiously, the fact that the E.444s were often used on old lines and coupled to not advanced coaches, usually hampered their performances. For example, only with the adoption of second-generation coaches, like the Grand Comfort type, trains driven by E.444 could replace the old ETR 300 in the Milan-Rome fast service.

E.444R[edit]

The introduction of fast lines showed the age of the E.444. It was therefore commissioned a program to upgrade all units to a new standard. That stator groups and the braking system were adapted for high speed service, while later it was also decided to update the driving cabin, which had been always noisy at high speed. A new, profiled frontal was thus adopted, together with a pearl grey-red livery.[4] The modified units (for a total of 97) were re-christened E.444R ("R" standing for riqualificazione, meaning "re-qualification", but also known as "Ribollita" among personnel, meaning something like "Reheated soup").

E.444R are in widespread service with FS-Trenitalia for fast Intercity and express services.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Including 4 prototypes, 110 series and 3 experimental units.
  2. ^ For a total of 97 units as of 2007. The first prototype is currently preserved to the originary standard.
  3. ^ A speed of 207 km/h (129 mph)
  4. ^ Later changed to the standard white green of FS Trenitalia.

External links[edit]