First step was getting a ticket ... The sale of tickets for the two trains of 10 january opened on 28 december, and althought i was there on early afternoon of first day of sale I was given place #12 , that is one of the last available for the train of the morning. Just from this point one could imagine the success ...
Only thing that i disliked was the fact that the ticket was written
on a plain module, the same you use for reserving places on regular trains
and pay supplements.
I asked why, then, they did not used the regular telematic system for booking, and instead registered the places by hand.
The humoresque reply from the one at reservation office was that since
it was a train in style of the forties, even the reservation had to be
made with the same system.
I abserved that in that case he should have given me an edmonton ticket, and not one of that long ticket, come in use in the sixties for reservation and only much later for regular tickets. No success.
[note: eventually was told me that this is standard practice for all special trains. Someone has still to tell me wahat are the advantages over the standard practice of doing the reservation by computer, or having a stock of specially printed tickets]
I arrived at the station at 8:20 ... it was a cloudy day, worse than the day before, surely a day better for going around by train, than walking in the woods ... The train was ready on track 7, from the overpass y could see the smoke from the steamers.
Even that day the station fas full of trains, so no good pictures of the train could be made. Even the station master that had to give the train a start had to use underpass to reach the track.
Ticket checking was unusually accurate, since there were a lot of request for that train, and was feared that some one would have boarded the train without reservation. However i was quick to board directly to my place and no one asked me the ticket. I had also to search the conductor to have my ticket validated (so i could "certify" "I was there")
Train was quite crowded, althought of course every one had his place. The train was make of cars from of 1931, with wooden benches, and only steam heating.
It was a wet day and steam condensated, but remained in the air. We were on second car behind the locomotive and while it would be optimal in a clear day let to some troubles. In the image below you can see what we could see, but if you click on it you can HEAR the sound of the locomotive.
Our first stop was in Caldine, at first no one knew how much long the stop would be, only a few had the timetable so not all unboarded at first, In next stations the lenght of stops was more clear so there all peoples unboarded quicly.
This first stop for most of people was an occasion to look at the locomotives,
while the engineers, expecially the one of the tema from Bologna (Dressed
in black, the team from Firenze had a blue uniform).
Many peple went to the engines to talk with the staff.
Often the confersation lasted from a stop until the next one, but was always a nice talk.
Forthese train the staff is nearly always the same, and thay "Fight" to be aboard.
This explain the 5 engineer, 5 firemen, 4 conductor for a train of 2 locomotives and 5 cars ...
(Plus a baggage car/gurd car that does not count, but there where 4 people that on stops sold books and postcards)
However in this occasion this was useful
One of the organizer told me that at the end of the 3 trips some of the staff of locomotive slept for 12 hours ...
During the trip the organizers ( Direzione Regionale Toscana FS, Trasporto locale, in special mode mr. Sampieri and mr. Scarpi ,tel +39 0552356194 ) gave to all passengers a set of postcards with images of the line at beginning of XX century and on back a commemorative brass plate with the reproduction of one of the illustration of the original project of XIX century.
And while some one talked with passengers, other engineer did the maintenance to their beasts.
Click here for a short movie
Caldine the line went up, far the first time most of people passed throught
the half elicoidal of Mimmole, that led us over Caldine, then Basciano
and arriving to Montorsoli.
People there waiting for the train told me the day before there were a greater number of people, and seeing the number of people present in morning, but also the number present in the afternoon, under the rain, I could not imagine how much filled could be that station.
Althought the steeper part ( 26 ‰ gradient ) is just under the underpass of v. Salviati (and according some people in FS it "Killed" the line the part starting in montorsoli is the most critical for traction, althought only 17 ‰ of ascent, it is in a tunnel, so some precaution was taken.
So steam was kept to maximum and ....
What is doing the engineer on this picture ?
He is putting pieces of ballst on the rail. He told me that the run off of sand, and so tried this surrogate.
For them was the first time they run a steam train on that line, so were a little excused, anyway the trail left safely Montorsoli.
We had a conductor in the 1930 uniform, giving the start at the train with the red flag (still in use) and a horn (No longer in use, current train have a built-in whistle, as the conductor give a command with a key all doors close but before whistle so people can quickly board, otherwise a whistle is used. Full sequence with sound is here.
From Cercina to Fontebuona, of course, we all kept the windows closed,
so it was an happy travel, on exit this was the wiew:
Again a lot of people was along the road and we could even see from a differnt point of view the first hole of the new TAV line.
The trip to S. Piero and Borgo S. Lorenzo was uneventful for the rest, just an occasion to see the country from a different point of view.
On arrival however we had the surprise of finding the mayor of the city (In foreground) with the band for a welcome. Click on picture for movie.
There was disributed a special copy of city magazine and half of the people went to the bar, the other went to ... Servicing the Locomotives
All the images and comment are on that page, but i just put here one showing people and not trains. Todays ones are a different kind, many "common people" rather than true railfan, net result was the possibility to get better pictures, without photographic lines and other annoyances (other than rain):
Return from Borgo was less enjoying, it begin raining and this did not permitted to make good pictures, nither to enjoy view, since steam covered all the valley. (Click on picture at right for a movie)
Rain was heavier and people waiting less, on left the stop of Salviati, on right the entrance on the station of Campo Marte.
On arrival the official picture of the team of Firenze:
And soon after the locomotive were uncoupled and sent to the deposito of Romito for turning.
I went home for lunch, in the afternoon I went back, this time with
my father, a retired railway man, to get some pictures in the station were
in the previous day i was unable to get shot. If you navigate throught
the pages of this site you should find all these pictures.
But even in the afternoon, under the rain there were still people giving welcome back to the train in that valley.
End of the day ... Rain ... even enginners become smarter, and the staff of 740 choose to go to clean their loco in the locomotive shed, an original 1890 building in the station of Borgo S.Lorenzo, dark but dry ...
See you again next time !
This is myself , Borgo S. Lorenzo 10 january 1999
Page ©1999 by Leonardo Boselli - firstname.lastname@example.org