Officine Grandi Riparazioni in Bologna: technical excellence at the service of the country

A point of reference in the train maintenance field for over a hundred years 

As of today, it is possible to retrace the history of the Officine Grandi Riparazioni (OGR) in Bologna by visiting the "Presidio di Memoria", created by Trenitalia and the Fondazione FS Italiane in collaboration with the regional Parliament of Emilia-Romagna, CGIL and AFEVA (Associazione dei Familiari delle Vittime dell’Amianto, being the association of the families of asbestos victims) within the premises made available by the Regional Legislative Assembly of Emilia-Romagna.

The Presidio di Memoria is a guided tour accompanied by photographs, documents and work tools, to allow everyone to have a better understanding of this important industrial reality. Over 250 objects are on display, including tachographs, thermographs, micrometres, ultrasound equipment, toolboxes, overalls, paint pigments and even soap from the paint shop, all collected throughout the decades and carefully selected by workers and former employees amongst all to have been safeguarded in the historic headquarters of Via Casarini.

A succession of objects and images symbolising the professionalism and passion of hundreds of railway workers and a tribute to those who lost their lives due to asbestos exposure, which occurred during the years when there was still no awareness of the dangers it posed.

An interactive video, with in-depth information sheets, offers a virtual visit to see the original location of all objects.

The history of the vehicle repair workshops in Bologna begins at the end of the first decade of the last century, followed by the evolution of the railway service and the vicissitudes of our country. Strongly rooted in the industrial fabric of the city - being a major railway hub - it was destroyed during the Second World War and then rebuilt, thus starting a path of progressive specialisation, albeit with different denominations.

From the Automotrici Leggere Elettriche (ALE - being a light electric motor coach) to the EBR 300 Settebello right up to the Pendolino ETR 450, 460, 470 and 480, there are many trains coming to and going from the facilities of the historic headquarters in Via Casarini, known since the 1970s as OGR - the Officina Grandi Riparazioni (or, the big repairs workshop) and from the 2000s as OMC - the Officina Manutenzione Corrente (or, current maintenance workshop). The use of powerful electronics in the new traction vehicles, starting in the 1980s, made a significant difference to the workshop's history. In fact, the first Electronic Repairs Centre was established, dedicated to the quality control of electronic components for many of the most modern locomotives.

It is precisely the high level of specialisation achieved in this field that has contributed to making firstly the OGR and then the OMC a centre of excellence at a national level that today - having transferred from its historic headquarters on Via Casarini - continues in the new set-up on Via del Lazzaretto.

The exhibition space can be visited from Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at the headquarters of the Regional Legislative Assembly of Emilia-Romagna on Via Aldo Moro no. 50 in Bologna.