Railway models in HZERO's collection
The HZERO museum's collection consists of railway models from various eras, most of which circulate on the museum's model railroad layout, while the remainder are displayed in display cases on the second floor of the museum. On the occasion of its first birthday in June 2023, HZERO celebrated by unveiling new 1:87 and 0-scale model trains in collaboration with fermodellist Paolo Ruggini, the Associazione Fermodellistica Pratese and the Conti family. Let yourself be transported by the incredible details and craftsmanship of these miniatures, an exciting journey on the world's most famous trains awaits.
The model trains exhibited by HZERO
European trains, starting with the luxury Orient Express.
From the Ruggini collection we get trains that made the history of Europe's railways and steam engines, such as the legendary luxury train Orient Express. The brainchild of Belgian entrepreneur George Nagelmackers, later aided by Belgium's King Leopold II, a great lover of railways, the Orient Express first allowed passengers to travel the Paris-Constantinople route with all the comforts without stopping at borders and entering into contracts with as many as eight countries. Nobles, bankers, politicians, mysterious spies, famous artists, writers and renowned scientists used the Orient Express not only for tourism or business trips, but also as a traveling convention center. A train that entered the collective imagination, a protagonist in literature and film, thanks to its luxurious coaches with beds clad externally in an elegant blue livery with gold fillets enriched inside with fine decorations and precious woods, some of them proper suites with private toilets, dining cars and bars, where delicious meals were served.
Among the luxury trains you will also be able to admire the "Versailles on wheels" built according to the taste and design of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the eccentric monarch recounted by writers and filmmakers. With its Louis XIV style, the king's train had a private carriage equipped with heating and lighting; a large living area decorated and furnished with comfortable sofas; a sleeping area with bed; a toilet with washroom; and even a viewing carriage with a central enclosed window and covered outdoor terraces. The other carriages were for the Purser, Court dignitaries, servants, heating plant, kitchen and related galley. The journey among Europe's most beautiful train sets continues, with many more stops: from the Group 13 steam locomotive of the French EAST Railways, the largest and most powerful steam engines ever to travel the European continent, used to haul prestigious and heavy express trainsets including the Orient Express; to the first steam locomotive used by the Swiss Northern Railway, starting in 1847.
Stop in Germany with the 1859 Wurttemberg German steam train and then in Sweden with the Swedish Railways SJ Sa-type steam locomotive dated 1930. We end the trip with the DB E 69 locomotives, which sped along the Bavarian secondary Murnau-Oberammergau line between the 1930s and 1980s, and the 1938 all-wood SJ D locomotive used for passengers on the Malmbanan and Stockholm - Gothenburg lines.
Italian trains that symbolized Made in Italy and the economic boom.
From the collection of the Prato Association and the Conti family come the trains that characterized postwar Italy by becoming symbols of made-in-Italy design and the economic boom such as the Settebello and the Arlecchino.The first is the ETR 300 train, known to all as the 'Settebello' thanks to the unmistakable layout signed by Gio Ponti and Giulio Minoletti, which made it one of the symbols of made-in-Italy design. Its speed of 160-200 km/h and its two first-class belvedere lounges equipped with a panoramic glass window, with the cockpit above the passenger space, gave the Settebello the look of a jet. The ETR 250, on the other hand, made in 1960 for the Rome Olympics, was produced in only four examples, appearing like a scaled-down Settebello. It reached speeds of 180-200 kilometers per hour traveling on the Milan-Rome route and was renamed "Harlequin" for the pastel coloring of the interior furnishings that distinguished each of the four carriages: green, yellow/gold, red and blue.
Other incredible Italian specimens are definitely the FS E 326 Electric Locomotives, in fact the first DC-powered fast electric locomotives of the State Railways, built between 1928 and 1932, and the FS ETR 20 Electric Train, considered the progenitor of the Italian high-speed train, a 'record train' that exceeded 200 km/h and became a symbol of Italian industry abroad by appearing at the EXPO in New York in 1939. But that's not all: you will find the FS's first DC-powered locomotive to perform freight and passenger service, the E 626, known as the 'all-rounder' for also being one of the first shuttle trains; and the FS E 428 Electric Locomotive, among the most powerful in the FS fleet from 1934 to 1958.
The specimens of high craftsmanship: handmade trains.
Among the trains on display in the showcases on the second floor, you will be enraptured by the details and craftsmanship of some handmade models. Among them is the Ferrovie dello Stato Type "F" wagon, handcrafted by model maker Mario Bucciero. This is one of the most popular wagons in Italy, made in 10,000 examples in the interwar period. They were dedicated to the transport of foodstuffs with two axles characterized by a pitched roof with wood-covered slats. Some specimens had a particular shape, among them the "cupolone" and the one called "a monta alta". Let's now take a leap into our city's past: you will find two models of Florence's very first tramway. The horse-drawn one was inaugurated in 1879 and connected Florence to Peretola and was operated by the Société Les Tramways Florentins, renamed "tramvai" by the Florentines. In 1898 the Belgian electrified the seven lines that remained in circulation until 1958. Our display cases house the streetcar of line 1 that connected Piazza della Signoria to Piazza Giuseppe Berta (today Piazza delle Cure) and the streetcar of line 13 that ran from Viale dei Colli to Piazzale Michelangelo. Two real jewels, made in brass by Francesco Conti and Adriano Betti Carboncini in 1983. Only two examples exist, and we are happy to be able to house them in HZERO's display cases.