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Elettren Trains

History

Elettren FS E428 Italian style Ansaldo Electric Locomotive in 'O' gauge first produced in 1947 Elettren was founded by Armando Ravasini in Milan Italy in 1946. Armando Ravasini was an engineer on the staff of Pirelli. Elettren (which stands for 'electric train') started out manufacturing high-quality finely detailed tinplate model locomotives and passenger cars in 'O' gauge to compete with the likes of Märklin. Elettren is still in business today, specializing in the manufacture of finescale brass 1:43.5 models (32 mm track width) utilizing a variety of modern techniques including acid etching and lasercutting. Fulgurex, a Swiss premium model train manufacturer was started in 1947 to handle distribution of Elettren designed trains.

Elettren (Italy) FS 0691 Pacific class 4-6-2 3 rail electric powered steam outline locomotive #231 in 'O' gauge circa 1947 Elettren trains are known for their precision and fidelity to their prototypes. The first Elettren powered models produced were the FS 691 Pacific class Steam locomotive and the E428 Italian style Ansaldo 2-B-B-2 heavy electric. It was the original model of the Italian class 428 that caught the eye of Count Antonio Giansanti Coluzzi, when it was on display at the Noë shop in Milan. Giansanti Coluzzi arranged to meet Mr. Ravasini and agreed to have 50 of the models constructed. The result was Fulgurex. Elettren also produced a line of tinplate passenger coaches and goods wagons.

Count Antonio Giansanti Coluzzi (1915-2006), was also of Italian descent, and was the founder and President of Rextoys. Rextoys made a range of vintage 1:43 scale vehicles in various liveries, including some that were military related. The Count fell in love with trains in 1923, when, as an 8 year old wintering with his parents at Cap d'Ail on the Cote d'Azur, he would Elettren 'O' gauge CIWL Golden Arrow Ferry van watch the Blue Train on its daily run from Paris to Ventimiglia. As he grew older he got to know the master artisans of toy- train making - he would call them artists, even folk artists - tucked away in various corners of Europe and, after World War II, of Japan. Eventually, in 1946, he would found Fulgurex (Fulgur x Rex -''The king of the lightning flash''). Fulgurex was an enterprise designed specifically to produce and distribute the finest model trains for the most demanding of those obsessed with miniaturization including the distribution of Elettren trains. Fulgurex has, since 1947, been known as a leader in developing model trains for the connoisseur. The Count was a passionate collector of both model trains and cars, especially those of prestige style and marque. His extensive, and very selective, collection of trains and cars gradually turned into an impressive private museum at his primary residence in Lausanne, Switzerland that, in part, contained over 300 Rolls Royce models of almost every scale, livery and type. He was also the author of a fine book on trains, "The Trains on Avenue De Rumine". This work includes four and a half pages of pictures and text illustrating several Elettren locomotives, passenger, and freight wagons made through 1980. In 1989 Count Coluzzi's model train collection was reputedly sold for over four million pounds sterling, leaving him only the car collection housed in huge cabinets filling about a dozen rooms in his residence in Lausanne. In 1964 Franco Ravasini replaced his Father Armando as head of Elettren. Franco expanded the range of products, creating both tinplate and scale passenger cars.

Elettren 'O' gauge European Express CIWL Dining Car Elettren 'O' gauge European Express CIWL Pullman coach Elettren 'O' gauge CIWL European Express Sleeping car
Elettren 'O' gauge German Railways 1st and 2nd Class Coach Elettren 'O' gauge Ferrovie dello Stato (Italian State Railway) 2nd class coach Elettren DSG (German Federal Railway) 'O' gauge handpainted tin L023D sleeper car with full interior and diaphragms, 17 inches long
Elettren DSG (German Federal Railway) 'O' gauge handpainted tin R025D diner with full interior and diaphragms, 17 inches long Elettren 'O' gauge SBB CFF Swiss Federal Railways 2nd Class coach Elettren 'O' gauge CIWL Grand European Express Pullman Coach

In 1993 Fabio and Maurizio Ravasini continued the family tradition, becoming the 3rd generation to lead the firm. They started a new age for the company - characterized by the production of new top quality models made with the best handicraft techniques - though keeping the 60 years of Elettren's style unchanged. Reflecting changes in the European market, the grandsons of Armando Ravasini moved to fine scale reproduction of European passenger cars of FS, SBB, PLM, CIWL, and other prototypes. (Lemaco’s fine scale Swiss coaches were made by Elettren.) All equipment is made of brass and other ferrous metal trimmed and drawn plates with heavy reliance on photo etching and lost wax castings. Inscriptions and livery are accomplished with pad printing and silkscreen processes. Elettren passenger coaches have removable roofs and are elaborate in the included interior and exterior detail. All trains are equipped with interior electric lighting, doors that are spring loaded to open and close, locking corridor connections, cloth gangways, end fall plates, upholstered furniture, cloth bedding and pillows on beds in sleeping coaches, bar and refreshment facilities in saloon coaches and cooking gear in kitchens of dining cars. Because of the high quality construction and attention to detail of these models, they are long lasting and tend to be well preserved by their owners. These products would not be considered to be or should not be referred to as toy trains, as they are fully functional scale models of, and are identical to the original prototypes in every detail. These products are coveted by competent collectors worldwide. Coaches have sold on eBay for more than $1000 each.

Elettren 'O' gauge British Petroleum Tank wagon Elettren 'O' gauge Shell Oil Tank wagon Elettren 'O' gauge E102 ESSO Tank wagon Elettren 'O' gauge E102 ESSO Standard Oil Tank Wagon - die cast and tin litho
Elettren 'O' gauge SB106 Gondola Elettren 'O' gauge PT105 stake car, die cast & litho tin, 12.5 inches long Elettren 'O' gauge BC108 flat car with spools, die cast and litho tin Elettren 'O' gauge SB106 gondola with plastic barrels, die cast and litho tin

Elettren has no US distribution, but it sells both to retail stores and individuals, ordering can be done direct. They make their products in small batches of 20 models per year. While the majority of their competition have moved production facilities to Korea or China where labor is cheap, Elettren construction is still done entirely in Italy with a total staff of only four. Elettren offers large wheel flanges on their products as an option for those with tinplate 'O' gauge trains and layouts. The making of Elettren trains can truely be considered an art form.

Link to Elettren web site.

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