The reference for locomotives and railcars


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Siemens Mobility ES64F and ES64F4
DB AG classes 152 and 189 and Swiss Federal Railways Re 474
Germany | 1996 | ca. 400 produced
152 055 in July 2016 with a train full of new cars near Salzberg
152 055 in July 2016 with a train full of new cars near Salzberg
Rob Dammers

In 1993, Krauss-Maffei won a tender for a three-phase freight locomotive to replace the six-axle class 150. As with the EuroSprinter ES64, which was developed for Spain and Portugal, Siemens contributed the electrical part. The new locomotive was designated ES64F and given the class number 152 in Germany. It is based on the EuroSprinter prototype, which in turn was based on the Spanish class 252. In addition to the new shape of the locomotive body, which is similar to that of the classes 101 and 145, the cheaper nose-suspended motors make a difference here due to the required maximum speed of only 140 km/h.

As with other modern electric locomotives, the transformer hangs under the frame and thus allows a continuous central aisle in the engine room. The control is carried out by GTO thyristors, each of which is connected to one power converter per axle and allows to control the axles individually. In order to make it possible to transport passenger trains, electric train heating and push-pull controls were also installed. In many components of the locomotive, the highest possible reliability was ensured, which is partly being done by redundancy.

ES64F4 No. 289 of MRCE Dispolok in November 2011 in Angermünde
ES64F4 No. 289 of MRCE Dispolok in November 2011 in Angermünde
Ralf Roletschek

DB AG planned to procure a total of 195 class 152 locomotives, of which only 170 were ultimately called off. The reason for this was that no certification for Austria had come about and instead 25 locomotives of the multi-system variant of the Austrian ES64U2 “Taurus” were ordered as class 182. Although the class 152 was also intended for use in front of passenger trains, it came to DB Cargo with the rail reform and was therefore no longer used in this area. Two locomotives were delivered to Siemens Dispolok and later sold to the leasing company ITL.

Based on the multi-system variant of the ES64U2, Siemens developed the ES64F4, which looks similar to the ES64F, but like the 152 only has nose-suspended motors. A distinguishing feature are the corrugated side walls. Thanks to IGBT thyristors, it is designed for the four power systems that are common in Europe and was given the class number 189 in Germany. Train control systems for different countries can be combined as packages, and thanks to LED lighting, the headlight from different countries can be displayed. Only in Great Britain they can not be used due to the smaller loading gauge and the gauge would have to be changed for use on the Iberian Peninsula.

The DB AG changed the option for 100 more locomotives of the class 152 to the 189. Starting with road number 189 061, these were only given two pantographs instead of the four, since the area of application for these should only be in Germany. It is planned to equip all locomotives of this class with ETCS by 2026. The 5,000 tonne ore trains previously pulled by the class 185 in double were expanded to 6,000 tonnes in 2019 and are being pulled by the 189 since then. Ten of the DB Cargo locomotives were eventually sold to MRCE, which uses them on the Brenner route, among other places. A further 18 units were built for the SBB, of which only twelve were ultimately taken over as Re 474. The remaining six went to Sweden and Italy.

ManufacturerKrauss-Maffei, SiemensSiemens
Axle configB-B 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length64 ft 2 7/8 in
Wheelbase42 ft 3 7/8 in41 ft 11 15/16 in
Fixed wheelbase9 ft 10 1/8 in9 ft 6 3/16 in
Service weight191,141 lbs191,802 lbs
Adhesive weight191,141 lbs191,802 lbs
Axle load47,840 lbs47,950 lbs
Power sourceelectric - ACelectric - AC/DC
Electric system15.000 V 16⅔ Hz15.000 V 16⅔ Hz, 25.000 V 50 Hz, 3.000 V, 1.500 V
Hourly power8,583 hp (6,400 kW)
Top speed87 mph
Starting effort67,443 lbf
Power Plant
Calculated Values
electric locomotive
three-phase AC
Siemens Eurosprinter
last changed: 02/2023

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