The last point that the Exhibition pushes towards the city, before changing route and extending to the right bank of the Po at Pilonetto, is the Railway Exhibition. It also attracts a good number of visitors.
The entrance to the exhibition is the attractive, flowery pavilion, enriched with arabesques and stucco, built by the Italian State Railways.
Outside, in the open air, the exhibition of fixed equipment: samples of signal poles; a section of electrically powered line, with a three-phase system, used on the Valtellina and Giovi lines; a complete model of the armature weighing kg. 46.3 per running metre, thanks to which it will be possible to reach, even on our lines, with modern locomotives, the normal speed of 100 kilometres and more.
Inside the pavilion, an elegant ensemble forms a large reception room, carefully furnished with armchairs, tables where plans, drawings and publications of the state railways are artfully arranged. From the pretty pavilion we pass under the sheds that make up the Railway Exhibition.
The material of the different nations is exhibited on 15 tracks of 180 metres each; there are, all in all, 2600 m. of tracks to be covered.
The first track, from right to left of the entrance, contains the Armstrong House exhibit. Lanes 2 and 3 are occupied by the French exhibition, lane 4 by the Swiss exhibition. The central lanes, from 6 to 9, are reserved for Italy; lanes 5 and 10 for the various Italian industries related to it. Lanes 11, 12 and 13 are occupied by Germany and lane 14 by Belgium.
Let us say straight away, for the people in the trade and also for the public interested in the operation of the railways, that this exhibition does not offer any radical novelties, any new inventions worthy of note. On the other hand, there was a great deal of improvement in the equipment on display throughout the section. Special elevated walkways, with elegant red carpets, make it possible to study the interior of the exhibited cars from the outside.
The five trains lined up here by the Italian State Railways give us the opportunity to see the enormous progress made in recent years in the construction of equipment. On one of the tracks is a pre-1860 train, with almost entirely foreign construction material, and immediately afterwards, on the same line, a modern narrow-gauge train, with the most powerful engine of the type now running in Europe, all built in Italy.
On the track next to it is displayed a train of great communication and luxury. At the head of the display is the first Pacific-type 690 (69,001) engine, a monstrously beautiful colossus in its enormous dimensions, which alone weighs 87 tonnes in service and can travel at a speed of 130 km per hour.
Behind the engine comes the baggage car with toilet compartment and water closet, built in the State Workshops of Florence. The passenger carriages, built by various Italian companies, are all of the latest type, communicating, with a side corridor and a very large central water closet, with a washbasin abundantly supplied with water. The train is joined by a lounge car, also built entirely in Italy. The three sections of this train are the same length as the seven sections of the pre-1860 train; each class seat in the 1860 train, which had neither a side corridor nor a water closet, cost 400 francs, while a similar seat in the 1911 train costs 1600 francs; these figures are sufficient to explain the evolution in the construction of the carriages.
The fourth train on display is an electric train, pulled by a three-phase, five-axle coupled locomotive, built to operate on the old Giovi line. The locomotive, with a power of 2000 hp and a weight of only 65 tons, has a notable advantage over the Pacific type which, weighing twice as much, only produces the same power. Two of these locomotives are enough to pull a long train up the steep slopes (35°/00) of the Giovi at a speed of 45 km per hour.
The fifth train is, even more than a real train, a collection of various samples of the types of locomotives and wagons used on the Italian railways. At the head of the train is a locomotive from the Société Suisse de Constructions Mécaniques of Winterthur, fitted with a special mechanism for rack and pinion traction. Also noteworthy is a locomotive of group 740, with twin cylinders and a superheater, built by the Italian mechanical workshops to pull very heavy goods trains at high speed on the plains and at sufficient speed on the mountain lines. Among the types of carriages, there is one with two trucks that can carry a load of 40 tons; others of a brand new model for the transport of horses and luxury crews, built in such a way as to be able to run on all the lines of Europe.
At the end of the tracks there is a special exhibition of the State Railways for the technicians: a boiler with furnace from the Verona workshops, two others from the Turin workshops, a jacketed boiler from the Foggia workshops built according to the modern systems of tubular plate envelopment, a group of cylinders melted down in the Granili workshops in Naples. In this exhibition, outside the shed, is the powerful 150 ton trolley or ferry bridge, 21 metres long, capable of transferring the heaviest modern locomotives. Equipped with three-phase electric motors and a winch, also electric, built by the national workshops in Savigliano and similar to the one already in operation in Turin at the locomotive depot, it is destined for the workshops in Sampierdarena.
The exceptional importance of the exhibition of the State Railways is even better understood if one considers that the material on display has a value of at least 3 million francs.
The 10th track, which also belongs to Italy, is occupied by a luxury train of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-lits, hauled by a second engine of group 690 (69008), type Pacific, and composed of 2 sleeping cars, a dining car and a baggage car.
The main foreign countries also took part in the exhibition, as mentioned above.
France exhibits a train of the Compagnie de l'Est with mixed cars of the three classes; a train of the Compagnie Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée, with a lounge car which is a jewel of good taste and elegance, with 2 corridor and toilet cars of the first class and another mixed car of the second class, with lounge beds and lounge. The Compagnie du Nord also exhibits passenger cars and freight wagons used on its lines.
Switzerland exhibited a very modern machine of group 616, with a series of photographs from the Société de Winterthur and the Société Anonyme des Aciéries, formerly Société Georges Fischer de Schaffhouse.
Germany lined three lanes with a veritable exhibition of samples of its types of machines, carriages and railway wagons. The machines included all types, from the oldest, built for Italian companies, to the most modern, from the whole machine to machine parts of particular interest. Among the carriages we can see a sleeping car, an Imperial German Post Office carriage, an ordinary 1st and 2nd class corridor carriage, a 2nd and 3rd class 4-axle carriage used from Frankfurt to Hamburg and Altona, a 4th class 3-axle passenger carriage. Among the goods wagons there is one with automatic unloading, with a capacity of 50 tonnes. Germany is also very advanced, as we know, in the laying and operation of electric lines. Here we find a 6-axle electric double car with accumulators, with 46 3rd class seats and 54 4th class seats; another electric double car with alternating current, also on 6 axles, mixed 2nd and 3rd class for 130 passengers.
©Guide Officiel de l'Exposition Internationale de Turin 1911