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Paperinik77pk posted a topic in LEGO Train TechHi all!!! Some days ago, back from holidays, I found here on EB that the new OcTRAINber contest has been started earlier!!! Well, I was expecting it in October, so I was a bit "unprepared"!!! Topic is particularly interesting , but it's difficult to immediately figure out what to prepare. I was quite lucky, since during the holidays, I had the the opportunity to spot a special hystoric train on the Ceva-Ormea line, in Piedmont. This line was literally the last one adopting the three-phases alternate current "Italian" system, and was converted to diesel-only in 1973. Therefore, being unusable on the new DC system, all the old locomotives were scrapped, or abandoned...or in one specific case...CONVERTED. Here's a specific page (in Italian - but can be translated by the browser), showing the Ceva Ormea in its electric and diesel era. As you can see,the AC system required two overhead wires. http://www.stagniweb.it/foto6.asp?File=l_aln2&Inizio=26&Righe=10&InizioI=1&RigheI=50&Col=5 Among all the AC locomotives, the FS E.550 was the smallest electric "three-phases" locomotive of the whole lot. A small wonder that allowed to pull trains on the terrible Giovi line, which was a real pain for steam locomotives. The AC system was affordable, easy to use, reliable, and smooth. The only problem was related to the fixed speeds (25,50,75, and the top limit of 100 Km/h) , which declared the end of the AC and the adoption of the still used DC system (started with the glorious E.626) The E.550 is only 9.5 meters long, has 5 axles (central one with plain wheels, the outer axles have a lateral movement of 20mm), so it's a pretty agile locomotive. I sincerely DO NOT KNOW if it has ever been used on the Ceva-Ormea line. Now that we've introduced the E.550, let's forget about it for a moment,and let's move again to the Ceva-Ormea line - to be precise to Ceva Station, which is near to my holidays house. Back in the late 80s, my dad used to travel from Genova to Ceva during summer months, staying in our house for weekends. Therefore, on fridays my mom and me used to wait him at Ceva station. This station has a backyard with some dead tracks, which at the time were full of old stuff and easily accessible, since it was near the car parking. In this yard I could see a lot of things - an old shunter, some wagons, a tender... and THAT thing ! For more info, look here - the first photo is clearly depicting what I used to see back in the days: http://www.stagniweb.it/foto6.asp?File=trifase2&Inizio=27&Righe=10&InizioI=1&RigheI=100&Col=5 At the time I tought it was an old, odd diesel snowplow, resembling me a...slug. Then a very nice man working at the station explained me that it once WAS a locomotive and then it was converted to a dummy unit, needing another locomotive to push it. It's marked as VNX 806.200, and it's basically an E.550 without motor,rods,electrical equipment...and with a big snow plow mounted frontally. It was used to clean the Ceva-Ormea line and was permanently assigned (and parked) in Ceva station. I saw a restored VNX at the Savigliano's museum, but it was another unit (VNX 806.221). The 806.200 is currently parked in another station near Turin (I hope waiting for a full restore). This is what I want to propose this year for OcTRAINber contest, and I can tell you it will be in 1:87 (4-wide) and will be a display only model. There will be also an E.550, so I can show the BEFORE and AFTER together (in a pretty limited space!) See you in the next days!!! Davide