Rhaetian Railway Ge 4/4 III
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The class is so named because it was the third class of locomotives of the Swiss locomotive and railcar classification type Ge 4/4 to be acquired by the Rhaetian Railway. According to that classification system, Ge 4/4 denotes a narrow gauge electric adhesion locomotive with a total of four axles, all of which are drive axles.
In order to manage the sharp increase in traffic on its network after the opening of the Vereina Tunnel, the Rhaetian Railway joined in 1989 with Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works and ASEA Brown Boveri, to develop a new generation of electric locomotives, the drive train of which was to be based upon AC technology with GTO Thyristors. The original plan for a six axle variant of the Ge 4/4 II, which would have had benefits on the nearly straight section of line through the tunnel, was rejected, in favour of a universally deployable locomotive with four axles, which could also be used on sections with tight radius curves. The result was the Ge 4/4 III class.
On 7 December 1993, the first Ge 4/4 III machine, no 641, was officially put into service. Between 1994 and 1999, eleven further locomotives followed, in three series, and were given numbers 642 to 652. The first of these further orders, made in 1989, consisted of six locomotives, and the second further order, in 1990, was for three. The third, placed with Adtranz in 1996, was intended to cover the additional demand due to the opening of the Vereina Tunnel, and was for another three machines.
The Ge 4/4 IIIs are now found at the head of almost all of the train sets on the Albula Railway, and they are the only locomotives used to haul car trains through the Vereina Tunnel. All of the locomotives in the class are currently decorated with colourful advertising liveries.
Accidents and incidents
The class was designed for 11 kV AC at a frequency of 16 2⁄3 Hz, and with a top speed of 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph). The Ge 4/4 IIIs weigh 62 tonnes (61 long tons; 68 short tons) and have an output of 2,400 kilowatts (3,200 hp) at 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph). They are 16,000 millimetres (630 in) long and 3,860 millimetres (152 in) high. Their control technology corresponds almost completely with that of the SBB-CFF-FFS Re 460 class of locomotive.
The 12 locomotives were given names of small communities in Graubünden, on the territory of which the Rhaetian Railway operates. Depending upon the livery applied to each particular locomotive, the names are applied at various places on the right and left sides of the vehicle, with the traffic number between 641 and 652 applied to each front end, and also on the lower sides. Beside the name on each locomotive is also the emblem of the particular place.
Similar locomotives operate also on the Bière–Apples–Morges Railway (BAM), (French: Chemin de fer Bière-Apples-Morges), as Ge 4/4 Nos. 21 and 22, as well as on the Montreux-Oberland Bernois (MOB) Railway, (French: Chemin de fer Montreux-Oberland bernois), as Ge 4/4 Nos. 8001–8004.
List of locomotives
The following locomotives in the class are in operation on the Rhaetian Railway:
|List of Ge 4/4 III locomotives of the Rhaetian Railway|
|Road number||Name||Coat of arms||Commissioning||Status||Advertising livery (as at December 2010)||Advertising livery (as at August 2016)|
|642||Breil/Brigels||24.01.1994||in service||Self-promotion: RhB Team||Self-promotion: RhB Team|
|644||Savognin||14.04.1994||in service||Radio e Televisiun Rumantscha|
|645||Tujetsch||31.05.1994||in service||Radio e Televisiun Rumantscha|
|646||Santa Maria Val Müstair||27.06.1994||in service||Self-promotion: BÜGA|
|647||Grüsch||20.09.1994||in service||Graubündner Kantonalbank|
|650||Seewis im Prättigau||07.09.1999||in service||Self-promotion: UNESCO World Heritage||Self-promotion: UNESCO World Heritage|
|651||Fideris||28.09.1999||in service||Self-promotion: Glacier Express||Self-promotion: Glacier Express|
|05.11.1999||in service||HC Davos||HC Davos|
No 651 "Glacier on Tour" at Disentis/Mustér.
- Belloncle, Patrick (2005). Das grosse Buch der Rhätischen Bahn: 1889–2001 [The Big Book of the Rhaetian Railway: 1889–2001]. Kerzers: Edition Viafer. ISBN 3952249408. (German)
- Finke, Wolfgang; Schweers, Hans (1998). Die Fahrzeuge der Rhätischen Bahn. Band 3 Lokomotiven, Triebwagen, Traktoren 1889–1998 [The Motive Power of the Rhaetian Railway Vol 3 Locomotives, Railcars, Tractors 1889–1998]. Aachen: Verlag Schweers + Wall. ISBN 3894941057. (German)
- Schönborn, Hans-Bernhard (2009). Die Rhätische Bahn Geschichte und Gegenwart [The Rhaetian Railway History and Present]. München: GeraMond. ISBN 9783765471629. (German)
Media related to RhB Ge 4/4 III at Wikimedia Commons
This article is based upon a translation from the German language version as at December 2009.