Due to the excellent results on the Benevento-Foggia line, FS (Ferrovie dello Stato,the state owned railways operator) abandoned the three phase current and new electrifications were only at 3000 V DC. For heavy express trains on the main arteries there was the need of faster and powerful locomotives so, in 1931, born class E 428. These large locos had eight big driving wheels of 1880 mm (approx. 6.15 ft) and a two axle truck at each end for a better guiding in curve, as was the know how
of the steam traction, and each driving axle was equipped with a double electric motor for a total hourly rating of 2800 kW.
In the end were built a total of 242 machines divided in three series: the first one with boxes in the front ends, the second one with a semi-aerodynamic shape and the third one with aerodynamic ends resulted after studies in the Guidonia test plant. E 428s took immediately service with the heavy express trains but they resulted very aggressive with the track because of the large wheels and high weight so their original maximum speed of 130 km/h (approx. 80 mph) was lowered during the years and when the class has been retired they were authorized only to 100 km/h (a little more than 60 mph).
With the coming of more modern classes the E 428 were downgraded to local and freight trains until the start of the 90s when the last ones were put out of service.
For this class too some units have been preserved as historical locos.
An unidentified first series E 428 enters Milano Centrale station with a long distance train. February 12th, 1972. Photo B. Studer
E 428.145, a semi aerodynamic member of second series, during a shunting movement in Ravenna. June 1st 1975. Photo B. Studer
Aerodynamic E 428.209, a third series one, transit alone through Monselice station in 1983. Photo W. Hardmeier
The three photos courtesy of Photorail, probably the best Italian site of railway photography.
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