From left to right: FSE (1989-20XX), ACT (1989-2009) and FER (2009-2014) versions.
In addition to the dependencies included in the package, it is also necessary to download the “FS E632 E633 E652 Free” Pack from TrainzItalia (registration in the forum is mandatory to download the site’s content).
The DE122s were designed at the end of the 1980s by the Catanese IMPA company (subsequently renamed ITIN – “ITalimprese INdustrie” in 1989) as a response to the ongoing modernization numerous regional railways’ rolling stock, with the help of law no.910/1986 in wich the national government granted substantial funds for this purpose.
Specifically, the DE122s were intended for use on push-pull passenger trains, the so-called “students’ trains”, wich often were the most heavily used services of many regional railways, where they were to replace particularly obsolete or inadequate rakes of “ordinary stock” (such as the Carminati & Toselli FSE cars, dating back to the 1930s) or double or triple-unit ALn668 or ALn663 sets, wich had an insufficient capacity.
At the time, IMPA was still a small company and until then it had produced as a subcontractor only maintainance cart or freight wagons. The DE122 was the company’s first venture into the field of proper locomotive manufacturing.
Based mainly on the E633 electric locomotives, it took many elements (including the design of the body and even the livery) from the older E656, while the mechanical compartment (engine and electric transmission) was derived from those used on the D445 diesel locomotives.
The DE122, equipped with a Breda or Isotta-Fraschini 8-cylinder “V” type IDS368VSS supercharged diesel engine, delivered a power of 1220Kw; the transmission was electric, using four alternators, and was regulated by choppers acting on four motors, one for each axis. The electronic components were made by Jeumont-Schnider.
Their relatively low maximum speed of 100Km/h was still fully sufficient and adequate for the services they would be running..
The first order for the new locomotives came in 1987 from the Ferrovie del Sud-Est, where the DE122s would replace the old BB Marelli-Reggiane diesel locomotives (derived from the D341 Class and introduced in 1957) on the most heavily used services out of Bari station.
Starting from 11 December of the same year, the first completed DE122, no. 401, began a cycle of test runs on railway lines around Catania and then in Caltanissetta, before being definitively delivered to the FSE in November 1988, where another test racing cycle on the company’s network. Towards the end of January 1989, the DE122 401 was joined by two other units: the 402 and the 403.
At the end of the test cycle, the small group of three locomotives entered service in the spring of 1989 on the Bari-Martina Franca line, one of FSE’s busiest lines and the only one with tracks in a condition suitable enough to handle the high axial load of the new locomotives (albeit still with several speed limitations in some sections, which remained in force until 1991).
The DE122s were initially used to tow the last freight trains circulating on the company’s network, replacing BB Marelli-Reggiane double-heading heavy Intefrigo refrigerator car compositions. Their “vocation” was exploited only starting from the 1990s, when the DE122s began to be used on commuter trains between Bari and Martina Franca, formed of Type 1979 duble-decker cars hired from the Ente FS.
The FSE were particularly impressed by these versatile and reliable double-decker carriages, so much so that in 1998 they ordered eight cars themselves, two of which were driving trailers.
For use in push-pull operations with the latter, FSE’s three DE122s were modified with the addition of the 78-pole remote control system.
The delivery of two other DE122s was also originally planned, but was not realized due to the reorganization of the manufacturing company in 1989.
Simultaneously with the FSE units, two more DE122s were delivered to the ACT of Reggio Emilia, where they were to be used at the head of the “MiRò” train, wich consisted of six Swiss Leichstalwagen cars purchased in the mid-1980s from the SBB-CFF-FFS.
One of them, jointly wit purchase of the two DE122s, was modified and converted into a cab car by the Gallinari workshops, obtaining a very similar result to the rebuilt Type 1965 low-floor coaches, wich were being rebuilt and modified by the Gallinari workshops themselves at the same time as the Leichstalwagens.
Nicknamed “the students’ train”, the in practice fixed rake of six leichstalwagen cars represented the main, and almost the only use of the DE122 in the Emilia-Romagna region, wich continued even with the acquisition of the ACT railway branch by the FER in 2009.
The six “MiRò” cars were withdrawn from service on 9 June 2012 and subsequently scrapped, being replaced in their services by triple-unit compositions of ALn 72422 diesel railcars.
Orphaned of their main use, the two DE122 FERs were redestined for freight services and the transfer of empty material, mainly the “Vivalto” cars, wich had been recently acquired by the FER.
In 2014, with the separation of FER into TPER (passenger services) and Dinazzano Po (freight services), the DE122s were handed over to the latter, without however being used in regular service, not being approved for circulation on the RFI network.
To date, the two DE122s are still owned by Dinazzano Po, having never entered service with this company, and their demolition is expected shortly.
On the FSE side, on the other hand, five more units were added to the three original IMPA / ITIN DE122s from the late 1980s between 2007 and 2009: produced by DPA (another Catanese company that relied on part of the workers of the defunct IMPA / ITIN) but radically modified in their appearance and equipped with mechanics and electronics much more modern than their predecessors. These five units (numbered DE122 410-414) were initially intended for use with the 25 “Silberlinge” carriages bought second-hand from DB and rebuilt by the Croatian TZV-Gredelji workshops, which, however, due to numerous mechanical, technical and homologation problems, never entered service.
Thus the five DE122s of the second batch, surplus due to the lack of coaches, started to replace their older sisters on double-decker car workings.
The arrival of the new locomotives and the introduction of the ATR220s first, and the ETR322s thereafter, increasingly eroded the number of services assigned to first-batch DE122s, which found themselves pulling local trains consisting of “Costamansanga” (“Umbauwagen “Ex-DB), shortly before being withdrawn.
To date, the only DE122s still in circulation are the five second batch units of the FSE fleet. Two of the first batch units have probably already been demolished, while the others are likely to follow soon.