Our passions are the true phoenixes; when the old one is burnt out, a new one rises from its ashes.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Trains, what a passion!
Passions make us feel undescribable emotions, pushing us to dedicate our soul and our body to something we really love. Trains have always fascinated adults and children and millions around the world are the railsfans, those passionate about everything related to the railway world. Driven by this strong interest, and almost unconsciously, the railfans have always provided material and documentation of global interest (railway photography, modelling, collection of railway objects) so much so that many of these activities are carried out in collaboration with specific bodies of the industries of the sector. Furthermore, there are numerous railway museums in Italy, from Trieste to Naples and in numerous other cities.
Have you ever heard of the “train spotting” phenomenon? This English term identifies those who dedicate themselves to observing trains, trying to document and collect data on all vehicles of a certain class or area or line of interest, sharing them with other enthusiasts on forums or dedicated online pages.
The train, therefore, is a machine used for the transport of things and people but also performs an advertising and marketing function and therefore contributes to the creation of a social identity, playing a fundamental role in the choices of companies in the sector (do technology, style and ergonomics ring a bell?). But the intrinsic and at the same time most important function of the train is to create interpersonal contact and social support. Aesthetics, elegance and style, in addition to functionality, have always attracted the attention of users or observers. The train has always been the means of public transport par excellence and its shapes and colors recall in the minds of each of us memories, experiences and emotions lived in the community, emotions of a time that was and that will not return. Looking back at old photographs, the older railfans will look nostalgically at the C1 livery of the first Eurofirma! “Ah, what a nostalgia!”, Goethe would exclaim. But let’s go in order.
1905 as a turning point
1905 marked a turning point: following the birth of the Italian State Railways, Ferrovie dello Stato, all the materials used to decorate the locomotives were prepared by the historic Mesticheria of the Officina Grandi Riparazioni based in Bologna. Coloring and painting of rolling stock (in Italian Coloritura e verniciatura del materiale rotabile) was the name of the Technical Instruction, issued in 1925, which defined the preparation of putties, oils, paints. Since 1905, hence, a series of maintenance interventions have been put in place such that it was possible to justify the complete overhaul of the paintwork of the rolling stock. For some time, therefore, old and new paint schemes coexisted until their uniformity.
The Lechler company, founded in 1858 in Germany, with an Italian branch in Como which became independent in 1910, has always been and still is the historical supplier of the Italian State Railways, also known as FS, and uses customized official codes and names (for example, Rosso Fegato) dedicated to the FS colors in a specific section of its catalog: the 006. (visit the following page to learn more about the Italian FErrovie Dello Stato history: https://www.fsitaliane.it/content/fsitaliane/en/fs-group/our-history.html)
In the first half of the 1970s, a new standard was imposed, to which even Lechler partially adapted: Eurofirma, the European company for the financing of rolling stock, thought of a new type of prestigious international train by unifying the various obsolete models in service (UIC), moving in the direction of interoperability.
Like the railway vehicles, the liveries of each country were not very uniform and diversified. The Z or Eurofirma coaches were born and replaced the previous Type X offering greater comfort to travellers. Of the 500 series units produced, about a hundred were assigned to the FS and, for the construction of these, reference was made to a German standard (RAL).
The most popular liveries
But the opinion of the end users was fundamental: they had in fact the opportunity to express themselves on the colors applied by Eurofirma to the first 10 prototypes, divided between DB, FS and SNCF: the C1 livery, orange with a light gray band, won.
However, the new standard was only adopted by Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and Austria, for a total of 308 vehicles.
The Type Z “Eurofima” coaches, in addition to the C1 livery, have seen over time the gray with yellow stripes, the XMPR livery and later the ESCI, the Frecciabianca and the Intercity.
The XMPR livery, a Pantone standard coloring scheme applied to all FS rolling stock between 1995 and 2017, used three colors: light gray Cool Gray 2 C (or 006/021), green 329 C (or 006/022) and blue 293 C (or 006/023). The varnishing left room for the printed film. The livery was named after the English consulting firm XMPR PLc and had the aim of standardizing the aesthetics of vehicles in circulation, reducing operating costs and proposing a new corporate image.
Since 2008, the FS brand, the FS Trenitalia logo, the pictograms, the external colors of the trains and the various print characters and labels, must comply with the official FS document entitled “FS brand, FS trenitalia logo, print characters, pictograms and institutional colors for rolling stock “.
And you? Which liveries do you think with nostalgia? Let us know in the comments!
See you next time!