Central Station >> Milano >> The urban tramways >> Ventotto


Ventotto 1968 resting on piazza IV Novembre reversing loop, terminus of routes 5 and 9, two of the nine services operated by these glorious trams. April 8th 2001.



In the '20s, the urban tramways in Milano were interested by a high traffic, increased after the reform on November 28th 1926 when all the radial routes were coupled to create diametral services. The urban trains of a two-axle motor car with a two-axle trailer were insufficient, so the Ufficio Tramviario Municipale (UTM) decided to adopt the bogie (four-axle) tram. At that time in Italy four-axle trams weren't common: they were used only on interurban lines, saving for Modena that since 1920 had had eight four-axle urban cars. Soon two test units, numbered 1501 and 1502 and designed by the UTM engineers, were built by Carminati e Toselli and were delivered to the UTM in 1927. These two cars were the first Milano single ended cars and followed the Peter Witt scheme (1).

As these units proved themselves a true remedy to the increasing traffic problems of the tramway network, UTM ordered 500 other units to six different builder, with the project to replace all the old Edison trams. As the definitive project of these motor cars was drawn up in the year 1928, they were called series 1500, type 1928, or simply "Ventotto" (in English twentyeight), or also "Carrello" (bogie) as they were the first Milano bogey urban cars.

Ventotto body builders
Builder Numbers
Carminati e Toselli 1503-1612
Breda 1613-1722
Reggiane 1723-1772
OM 1773-1882
Officine Elettroferroviarie Tallero (OEFT) 1883-1992
Lodigiane 1993-2002

All these trams were delivered in 1929-30 and had a great success: the traffic increased at that point that the UTM had to maintain 200 Edison in service. The livery of the Ventotto was light brown and cream, while the old two-alxe cars were painted in yellow, but since 1930 all the cars had to be painted in light and dark green in conformity of a government decree. The current's collector was the classic trolley pole, "perteghetta" in Milanese. One car was tested in Frankfurt am Main (Germany), while a 503rd car was built for the Tramways Bruxellois (Bruxelles tramways), later sold to Madrid.

Cars 1501 and 1502 in 1927
Cars 1503-... in 1929
Cars 1503-... from 1930
Madrid 1000 in 1946

Although the success, soon these trams revealed a deficiency, as there were problems about passengers' flow in the rear half of the cars. The new tramway undertaking, the Azienda Tramviaria Municipale (ATM), added a new half-sized exit door on the rear end of the cars 1529 and 1530. Soon ATM decided to transform all the Ventotto with the half door. In 1937 ATM added a full enter door on the rear end of the car 1881, while the two other doors were used as exit; the conductor's seat was placed on the rear platform. This system worked well, so all the cars were transformed in this way in the years 1938-40: in that period it was possible to see together Ventotto with two doors, with the half door and with the full third door!

Cars modified with the half-sized door in 1932
Cars 1503-... in 1940

During the dark years of II World War, the city of Milano was hit by Allies bombings various times, destroying or damaging 204 Ventotto. 24 of these cars were rebuilt in 1944 as trailers for the series 600 motor cars, with the original number preceded by 0 (series 01500).

Train 600 + 01500 in 1944-45
Cars 1503-... in 1944-45

After these sad times, all Ventotto were rebuilt, saving for the unit 1624, demolished in 1944. Finally, also the 24 Ventotto trailers were retranformed in motor cars in 1948-49. 96 units were equipped with the APN automatic starter, after an experiment on six cars in 1944. In the '50s all these APN units were equipped with elastic wheels.

Cars 1503-... from 1947
Car 1623 in 1954
Cars 1503-... from 1955
Cars 1503-... from 1961

In 1970 ATM adopted a new orange livery that was extended on all its rolling stock. In the same year the Ventotto 1556 tested a pantograph as ATM planned to replace the current's collector on all the urban trams. This process started in 1972 when all the cars were equipped both with the trolley pole and the pantograph. In 1978 the conversion was completed; in the same year the last green trams were repainted in orange. Only some motor car from series 700 and interurban rolling stock (repainted in orange in early '80s) remained in green. In the meantime, 94 Ventotto were scrapped, most of them with the APN starter. The few preserved APN cars were converted to the classic K35 starter. In 1977 other 50 Ventotto were demolished. After years of decline of the urban tramway system, in 1988-92 250 Ventotto were reconditioned.

Cars 1503-... in 1970-72
Car 1503-... in 1974-78
Car 1524 in 1974-78
Cars 1503-... from 1978

Today there are in regular service about 180 units and there are seven special units. The routes operated by these great trams are 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 11, 19, 23, 33. The depots that host Ventotto are Leoncavallo, Messina and Ticinese.

In the last months ATM planned to set aside about 60 units and to transfer them in Deposito Famagosta (one of the depots of the metro M2), but today only a dozen of them are set there.

Ventotto tecnical characteristics
Year 1927-30
Original amount 502
Present amount ~ 180
Classification 1501-2002
Length 13 890 mm
Width 2 350 mm
Mass 15 000 kg
Maximum speed 35 km/h
Body builder see here
Bogie builder FIAT
Axles 4
Brake pneumatic
Electric equipment builder CGE
Engine builder CGE, Ansaldo
Engine amount 4
Total power 84 kW

Special units

Ventotto 1503
Ventotto 1702 "Tram Bianco"
Ventotto 1714
Ventotto 1723 in 1994
Ventotto 1966 in 2000

Photo album 1 - Regular units

Photo album 2 - Special units


  1. A Peter Witt tram has two doors: one at the front end controlled by the driver and one at the centre controlled by the conductor which position is close to the middle door on the side toward the front end. Passengers must enter from the front door and must exit from the centre door, and they must pay when they pass in front of the conductor, so these cars were also know as PAYP: Pay As You Pass.


© 2003 Ivan Furlanis
Last changes: December 2003