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 FORMAZZA, on the old SLF - Changeover station from Swiss to Italian systems

Here at the throat of the Formazza station, we see an articulated E646 Italian electric passing under the signal bridge and past the electric substation on its way south toward Domodossola. (Sharp observers will note the total lack of overhead catenary. Alas, this important feature was never completed.)

I built the locomotive from parts furnished by my friend Claudio Cestaro, a custom builder of N scale locos in Italy.

Somewhat blurry view of the Formazza area. The layout was constructed using the "Bookshelf" idea published in the Jan-Feb 1977 Model Railroader.

Closeup of the Formazza customs area. The Swiss electric is preparing to depart with a Hupac "Rolling Highway" train of drive-on drive-off flats and a coach for the truck drivers.

Another view of the Formazza throat leading to the twin tunnel portals. Notice the Spanish Talgo train on the right. This low-slung articulated train forms part of the Trans Europe Express (TEE) system. In order to travel on Spain's wide-gauge system as well as on standard gauge rails elsewhere in Europe, the back-to-back wheel spacing on the prototype is adjustable.

The Re 4/4I in TEE colors is just arriving in Formazza as a train of US and German armored vehicles arrives from the north, returning to their bases after completing joint NATO exercises in the alpine valleys.

Arial view of the Formazza terminal with its engine stalls hidden under the Piazza della Stazione to the right of the turntable. Being the changeover site between Swiss and Italian systems, much of the station's catenary is switchable between the two electrical currents. Today, the German Railways' Glasernezug or Glass Train is visiting Formazza (under Swiss catenary, of course). This unique white-over-blue electric railcar is visible behind the water tower.

A Swiss Re 4/4 in TEE livery emerges from the tunnel under the city. In the foreground, a couple of open gondolas sit on the Customs Siding.

The Swiss Re 4/4 TEE leads a consist of one Du baggage and several EWII coaches out of Formazza towards the Swiss border.

The engine is from Hobbytrain (Kato-made) and the cars are Arnold.

Via della Repubblica Ossolana is the scene of a catastrophic fire that has gutted the top three stories of the large apartment building on the right. While the pompieri quench the remaining embers and stow their equipment, the vigili urbani direct traffic down the side street flanking the cathedral.

Just visible at the base of the church bell tower, a wedding party mills about, perplexed at the confusion and wondering what has become of their chauffeur.

In the distance the movie theater Cinema Paradiso is playing a couple of great "Spaghetti" Westerns: Il Mio Nome è Nessuno (My Name is Nobody) and Il Buono, il Brutto, e il Cattivo (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). The movie house marquee features working chase lights around the perimeter.

Just north of Formazza, this hilltop tourist hotel provides a convenient jumping-off point for summer hikers and winter skiiers alike.

The occasional railfan has even been seen in the area. One room in particular affords a great view of the track leading up the valley.

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