My name is Bartolomeo Sammarco, creator of this train related fotogallery website.
I am a railfan since when I was a child, probably because of my summer train trips from Belgium, the country where I was born in 1965, to Sicily, where my relatives live.
This is back in time when the most common rolling stock of the Italian State Railways were the UIC-
I used to travel all night long. In Basel our train normally got divided to proceed to different destinations and then it travelled through the Swiss Alps in the darkness, with the moonlight reflecting on the mountains. My favourite part of the trip started in the morning. Our train eventually reached Chiasso, at the border with Italy and from there onwards it was operated by the Italian “Ferrovie dello Stato”.
Normally, a maroon E636 charged in for the Swiss engine and it hauled the train all the way to Rome, where I got to spend the day waiting for my coincidence to Palermo. This was a golden occasion to visit Rome..and yes I’m talking about the station, not the Roman Empire monuments.
Another fascinating part of my journey was the ferry trip across the Messina Strait. It took me a while to figure out how trains are loaded on ferry boats but I finally understood that a “Truman” diesel engine divided our trains into 3-
Needless to say, none of the coaches I travelled with were air conditioned which led to various arrangements aimed at negotiating the heat of Sicily. The geeky train personnel, for instance, would walk around in an open shirt but none of the would give up their uniform hat.
Unfortunately, the beauty of this ended in the mid 1990s, when the Italian Railways adopted the English designed XMPR livery. This did not just involve a change in the livery of the rolling stock. The whole business model of the FS changed and most of their beauty vanished. This is the time when the problem of graffiti emerged and the whole railway system fell into a degraded status.
This is what brought me to look at foreign railways and the comparison between these and the Italian Railways is often a very sad one.
Discovering foreign railways, however, greatly enlarged my railfanning horizons and gave me the opportunity to take picture of an incredible variety of trains.
Another thing that I should mention is the fact that my job (I drive touristic buses) gives me the opportunity to travel very frequently around Europe and that greatly increases my possibility of visiting new railfanning locations and publishing new pictures on trainpaparazzo.
In the following link you can access our photo archive.