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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 7 (November 1, 1928)

Britain and Italy

Britain and Italy.

Hand-in-hand with France, Britain and Italy also are forging ahead with railway electrification. In the Homeland, the Southern Railway operates some 733 track miles of electric line, and when the work now in hand is completed early next year this railway will actually possess 875 miles of electrified track. During recent weeks the Southern has opened an important electrified section lying between London Bridge Station and Victoria Station, London; and between London Bridge Station and Epsom Downs, via Norwood Junction and West Croydon. Seventy-nine miles of track are included in this section, and the introduction of electric working has called for the most elaborate signalling alterations, which include the provision at London Bridge of an enormous signal box equipped with no fewer than 312 levers, and ranking as the third largest signal cabin in Britain.

Across the Channel, the Italian railways have converted about 750 miles of track to electricity. Italy's first electric trains ran on the Milan-Monza line, where motor cars with accumulators were employed as far back as 1899. In 1901 there was opened the Milan-Varese route, on the continuous current system with third rail (650 volts). In 1902 the Valtellina line was electrified on the three-phase system, and to-day the greater number of the Italian electric lines are worked on this system.

Many interesting types of electric lomocotive are employed in Italy on the Government Railways. For fast passenger haulage locomotives classed as E. 331 and E. 332 are utilised. These are page 21 equipped with two motors of a total hourly rating of 2,000 kw. The motors have eight poles when the stators are directly fed by the three-phase current, and the same windings when connected for two-phase current producing six poles. A Scott transformer is used to transform three-phase into two-phase current when desired. The locomotives are of the 4–6–4 wheel arrangement, have a total weight of 92 tons, and an adhesive weight of 48 tons.