Product Features and Details
Model: Lematec new model is exquisite. The model is all handmade out of brass and features extensive detail both in the interior and exterior. Model is equipped with a high end brushless type motor and prototypical lighting. Lematec also replicated the complicated drive rod systems which is the most unique feature of the E550. The new E550 is a little gem and would make a nice addition to any collection.
Prototype: In the wake of the success met with three-phase electric locomotives on the Valtellina line, in the early 20th century the newly-formed state-owned Ferrovie dello Stato, led by Riccardo Bianchi, decided to electrify also the important mountain line of the Passo di Giovi, which connected the port of Genoa to the industrial cities of northern Italy. Despite the use of the powerful 470 class steam locomotive, the line was actually near full saturation. Electrification of the line at 3.6 kV 16.7 Hz were completed in 1916.
Designer of the electric part was the Hungarian engineer Kálmán Kandó. The whole project, initially developed by the FS central design studio, was later completed by the Società Italian Westinghouse of Vado Ligure. The first E550 prototype proved to be capable to haul, on the steep hill stretches of the Giovi railroad, trains of up to 400 tons (against the 310 of pair of Gr.470 steam engines), and also at the double speed of 50 km/h. The use of electric traction also solved the problem of smoke dissipation in the tunnels. A total of 186 E550s was built between 1908 and 1921, in four series.
[E550 had five axles connected to the two electric motors through an articulated connecting rod. The three center axles were rigidly mounted to the frame and the center axle's wheels were without flanges. The outer axles were mounted in a manner that allowed them to turn into curves. The wheels were small, and thus adapted to heavy freight or slow passenger services at low speed. The locomotive had two cabs, one at each end of the central compartment. The motors were asynchronous three-phase, which could be connected in series at low speed and in parallel at higher speeds. The connections were enabled through a tambour connector using a liquid-cooled rheostat. Feeding was provided by two trolleys, both always connected to the line.
Braking was provided by an automatic continuous brake and a regulated, hand-operated brake.
The locomotives E551, E552 and E554 were all developments of E550. Some E550s units were later transformed into snow-sweepers.