MA100 Series pack

Made in collaboration with Griffinrails

From left to right: test runs on Roma-Lido Line, full service on Line A, Roma-Lido Line “Freccia del Mare” Livery, MCNE Napoli-Giuliano-Aversa Line livery.

 

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All the necessary dependencies are included in the pack or are avaible on the DLS.

 

The MA100 were designed by the Intermetro consortium starting in 1974, in anticipation of the opening of Line A of the Rome Metro. They are mainly based on the Series 300/400 trains of Line 2 of the Milan Metro (using the same pantographs, doors, bogeys and the vast majority of the electrical equipment, as well as the control desks) and from the Series 150/250 of Line 1, from which they inherit the general layout, with four doors on each side.

Built by Breda, for the mechanical part (bodyshells etc…), and by Ansaldo, TIBB and Ercole Marelli for the electrical part (motors, traction control…), all 152 driving motor units (wich were intended to form 76 twin units or 38 rakes of 4 units) ordered by STEFER were completed and delivered between 1976 and 1979.

 

Due to various delays in the construction of the line, which at the end of the delivery of the MA100s was not yet ready, STEFER decided to use it’s brand new electric multiple units for a series of test runs on the Rome-Lido railway, while waiting for the completion of “their” Line A.

Since the Rome-Lido railway was built to a railway-like loading gauge, the MA100s had to be modified and adapted to run them on the former, as they had been designed strictly following the unification standards for the subways, which were largely redone to the Milan Metro.

Among the changes that the MA100s underwent to be adapted to the shape of the Rome-Lido Line, a well visible “perch” was installed to raise the pantograph, so that it could pick up from the line’s catenary. In these test runs, the MA100s not only traveled the Rome-Lido line, but, taking advantage of the connection between the two, they also traveled on the then existing subway (former “Ferrovia E42” and future Line B), going as far as Termini. We do not have certain information, but it is very likely that in this period of testing, the MA100s also operated regular passenger services (both on the Roma Lido and on the Termini-Laurentina metro).

 

In 1980, with the opening of Line A on the 16th of February, the MA100s finally entered service on “their” line, initially in a composition of 4 elements. With the gradual increase in ridership, the rakes were lengthened with the insertion of a RA100 trailer, bringing the composition to 5 elements: M + M + R + M + M, subsequently extended again to 6 elements, with an M+M+R+R+M+M formation (unlike the Milan metro, where the six-element composition is M+R+M-M+R+M).

Also in the same period, between the mid-80s and the early 90s, the rheostat of the MA100s was replaced by a much more modern and performing Armature Chopper, derived from those tested between 1977 and 1983 on some 150/250 Series trains of the Milano’s Line 1, thus guaranteeing considerable energy savings and a smoother and more comfortable ride.

By the early 2000s, the MA100s and their trailers became increasingly fatigued, due to their intense services and lack of maintenance. To replace them, in 2005 the MA300 Series trains were introduced, produced by the Spanish CAF (and derived from the 5000 Series of the Barcelona Metro, introduced in 2003). The MA100s were gradually replaced and stored in the Osteria del Curato depot. There is no exact date, not even the year, of their retirement.

 

Starting from 2005, some MA100s replaced by the MA300 series trains were refurbished and modified in order to move them to the Rome-Lido line, to replacing the more-than-fifty-year-old MR100s and MR200s (of 1955 and 1956) and the MR300s (contemporary with the MA100), wich were all three trains of the old Termini-Laurentina metro, moved to the Rome-Lido by 1990.

Among the modifications undergone by the MA100 there was the change of livery, designed by Giorgietto Giugiaro, and the adaptation (again) to the railway-like shape of the Roma-Lido Line, including the insertion of “fifth wheels” between the bogies and the bodyshell to raise the floor of the units, so that it could be at-level with the platforms, and again, the addition of perches for the pantographs, even retrieving some that had been used in the 1976 test runs!

 

The first MA100 for the Roma-Lido Line entered service on the 1st of October 2005, followed by a second set on the 25th of May 2006 and another five between 2006 and 2007. These “new” trains were intended for “Freccia del Mare” services (“Sea Arrow”, a play on FS’ Frecciarossa “Red Arrow” high-speed trains), wich were to be non-stop direct express services between the Piramide terminus and the Ostia-Lido station. These services were almost immediately eliminated, and the MA100s were redirected to standard “Local” services on the line.

The insertion of a fifth wheel between the bogies and the bodyshell turned out to be an atrocious idea, as it caused a lot of serious damages (including numerous cracks) to the frame and underbody, which could’ve led to the collapse of the same structure, wich is why, in 2010, all the MA100 of the Roma-Lido were withdrawn from service and at the same time, the transformation of another 8 sets was canceled.

With the fifth wheels removed and the bodyshells repaired, the seven “Freccia del Mare” MA100 sets gradually returned to service, but due to the lack of maintenance, most of them suffered serious breakdowns and were withdrawn over the following years. The last MA100 Series set of the Rome-Lido Line was withdrawn on 31 July 2018.

 

Rome, however, was not the only city to run the MA100: among the units withdrawn in the early 2000s, 12 MA100 driving motor cars were purchased in 2006 by the MetroCampania NordEst company, for the operation of the Naples-Giuliano-Aversa “Arcobaleno (Rainbow) Line”.

This line had been opened in 2005, but only in the Piscinola-Mugnano section. Services on this section were operated by MCNE using six units (a 4-car set and a 2-car set) of M1 Series cars lent from the Naples Metro.
Refurbished and repainted in a new white livery, the MA100s (retaining their original classification) entered service in 2009, on the occasion of the completion of the line, from Piscinola and Aversa.

As of today, EAV’s (former MCNE) units are the last MA100 Series units in service in Italy, but due to the poor economic state of the EAV company, a definitive replacement is not yet planned.

 

Trivia#1

Due to their orrible condition and atrocious service on the Roma-Lido Line, the MA100s were nicknamed “Feccia del Mare” (“Scum of the Sea”).

Trivia#2

– Although the MA100 driving motor units are still in service, the same cannot be said about the RA100 trailers, as they were withdrawn with the retirement of the last MA100 Series set in service on the Rome-Lido line, on the 31st of July 2018 .

Trivia#3

– The RA.25 trailerĀ  (in “Freccia del Mare” livery) is currently the only subway car preserved in Italy: it is located at the Montesano-Buonabitacolo station, on the disused Sicignano-Lagonegro line. It was purchased by private individuals and is used as a room for a restaurant located inside the station itself.