Alberto Giacometti : Ae 4/7 SBB-CFF

portogruaro 4

Alberto Giacometti: the E4 / 7 SBB-CFF

bank 100 FSV

(Written by P.G.)

CH stamp micio

Thinking of the electric traction in the Swiss Confederation during the last century, the locomotive the most emblematic is precisely the Ae 4/7.AE47 01
Put into service in 127 specimens from Swiss Railways in 1927, these locomotives were used until 1996, mostly direct on the Gotthard and Simplon towing passenger trains and later also for freight service.

Ae 4/7 10976 SBB Historic hlp, départ de Lausanne
Designed according to the criteria of Jacob Buchli, they were equipped with the namesake transmission that has strongly influenced the external appearance making wheels and frame very different from one side to the other, as you can see in these pictures ….

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… While here some Ae 4/7 of Lausanne offer simultaneously all objective diversity of their opposite flanks

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They belong to the great European family of electric locomotives equipped with four large wheels drive and two bogies, except that, unlike the 428 Italians, the French and the 2D2 series 18/19 German, have the originality to have a shopping ends with two axles and a mono-axis.
Their heads are equipped with hoods smaller and a less angular than those of the first 428.

Convoglio 428
The typical silhouette of the E4 / 7 and their elegant green livery characterized from the 20s to the 90s as the green landscape of the Swiss valleys and were home for more than 70 years in Domodossola and Chiasso.
The first play of this locomotive in HO scale / OO (quite large) was produced in 1946 by the Swiss brand RICHARD

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With its large front bulbs …..

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… The trademark applied on top of the coffins …

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… Large spoked wheels not pierced …

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….the different sides

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as to the true …

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It’s definitely a model full of charm !!

It is equipped with two motors operating in AC 16 V with a simple inductor coil without any inversion system, it therefore has the particularity to operate in only one direction of travel, and, consistently,  lighting two light bulbs is only present on and in front of the hook, similar to Maerklin of the era, only on the head cover.
Probably it was also a version with reverse, given the existence, on the back of the holes for the bulbs plugged, perhaps single-engine, since, all inside, the two engines would not have left the room for a relay of reverse …
Body, foreign-crazy carts and wheels are zinc alloy, chassis, bogies and brass gear

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This locomotive is extremely rare since in more than 60 years of collecting, I have known the existence of only two other examples in addition to the one shown.
BUCO in 1954, a company founded in the same year from August to Diepolsau Bucherer, has in turn its Ae 4/7.


Only locomotive all-metal prototypes in hand, the brand, it is actually delivered at the end 1956. A few months later, all beginning of ’57, BUCO ceases activities and the production of this model is limited to about 300 pieces ….

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It is a very nice model

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for the era ….

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… It has a powerful and reliable AC 16 V, a reverse relay similar to Maerklin of the era,
its drive wheels, from one side to the disc, from another ray, are directly inserted on the fixed frame …

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… And set out to the axis through hex nuts in brass.

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Given the rarity of these pieces,


it is hard to see them together like this ….

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After the closure of the company, the molds of the case were taken and modified from HAG which in 1959 proposed his Ae 4/7 both in DC and in AC,

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characterized by all spoked wheels, motors on three axes, pantographs “2 ” of the brand.

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Note the particular Fleischmann hook for towing wagons .
This version was produced in 1959 – 60 and it was followed by other, with ambitions “modeling” which are not the subject of this article.

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And here are three “family photo”

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of the locomotives that we talked about …

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… With the right veteran Richard, left the model HAG, at the center the two BUCO.
As mentioned, the Ae 4/7 were for decades residents of our border stations.

I remember in Domodossola the change of traction was quite spectacular: the Ae 4/7 coming from Simplon lowered pantographs and entered by inertia under the catenary 3 KV, were detached from the train, hooked to a locomotive that sent Italian-operated push in the AC.
Here, then, to Domodossola in the ’60s a Ae 4/7 is in the company of an 626 and an 428 …

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… And here, by analogy scale HO / OO, the Ae 4/7 RICHARD

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accompanied by two Italian veterans too of the 40s: a 428 PVZ

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and a 626 primordial Rivarossi ….

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Wishes for good health to these bold (almost) seventy … !!!! ….

A big hug from Portogruaro

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And  now Alberto Giacometti: pleased to meet you !!

Giacometti autoritratto young

(@November 10,2015)