The reference for locomotives and railcars
German Reichsbahn E 18
German Federal Railway class 118, German Reichsbahn class 218 and Austrian Federal Railways classes 1018 and 1118
Germany | 1935 | 53 produced
E 18 16 in the year 1969 in Munich east
E 18 16 in the year 1969 in Munich east

As early as the first half of the 1930s, the Reichsbahn noticed that electric locomotives would soon be needed for speeds well in excess of 120 km/h. The E 04 that had just been introduced could be approved for running at 130 km/h without any problems, but with its three traction motors it only achieved an hourly output of 2,190 kW. However, this was not enough to reach and maintain higher speeds with heavier express trains. As a result, two prototypes of a new locomotive were built in 1935, which could make up to 150 km/h with a chassis similar to the E 17 with an hourly output of 3,040 kW.

Despite the four powered axles mounted in the frame, it was possible to achieve smooth running at high speeds by combining the outer powered axles together with the adjacent carrying axle to form an AEG Kleinow bogie and thus being able to move laterally. Thanks to the return springs, the locomotives ran stably on track at any speed. Contrary to what was still common practice at the time, the power taps were not controlled by a steering wheel, but by an up-down control supported by an electric motor. This was accompanied by a seated position for the driver, whereas until then he had to stand in electric locomotives. A new feature was a streamlined locomotive body with low skirts at both ends. The latter caught large amounts of snow and dirt in winter, so they were later removed by the Bundesbahn and shortened by the Eastern Reichsbahn.

A total of 53 examples were put into service until 1939. Meanwhile, the E 18 was awarded a Grand Prix at the Paris World Fair in 1937, while in the country attempts to replace some of the engine's components with “native materials” failed. The planned use from Munich to Berlin could not take place in one go, since the different design of the overhead line in Central Germany would have required other pantographs. Instead, the locomotives were used in southern Germany, where many routes had already been electrified.

In 1937, the BBÖ ordered eight units with adjustments for use in the mountains as class 1870. These adjustments included a higher arrangement of the ventilation grilles to protect against snow and a reduction in the top speed to 130 km/h. After being incorporated into the Reichsbahn, they were taken over as the E 182 and some of the adjustments were reversed. After the war, these eight engines, together with a “real” E 18, remained in service for a very long time and underwent several modifications that brought them closer to the ÖBB standard. After a few changes of color scheme, the last ones were only removed from regular service in 1992.

In Germany, a total of 39 units remained with the Bundesbahn, of which 34 could be made operational again. The fleet was reinforced in 1953 by five purchased from the GDR, which had returned from the Soviet Union as former reparations. In the years 1954 and 1955, two more new locomotives were built. The E 18 became the class 118 from 1968 and was retired by 1984. Although the Reichsbahn in the GDR had already sold its five operational engines, between 1958 and 1960 the components of six damaged machines parked in Hennigsdorf were put together to form a total of three operational engines. Two of them were later converted to a speed of 180 km/h in order to be able to test new vehicles. The last one was not retired until 1991.

Built1935-1939, 1954-1955
Manufacturermechanical part: Krupp, electrical part: AEG
Axle config1-D-1 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length55 ft 6 1/8 in
Wheelbase41 ft 11 15/16 in
Fixed wheelbase23 ft 7 7/16 in
Service weight239,201 lbs
Adhesive weight159,614 lbs
Axle load39,904 lbs
Power sourceelectric - AC
Electric system15.000 V 16⅔ Hz
Hourly power4,077 hp (3,040 kW)
Continuous power3,808 hp (2,840 kW)
Top speed93 mph
Starting effort46,311 lbf
Power Plant
Calculated Values
electric locomotive
last changed: 02/2022

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