SBB Re 4/4 I.

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SBB Re 4/4 I.
Re 4/4 I of the 2nd series near Otelfingen
Re 4/4 I of the 2nd series near Otelfingen
Numbering: 401–450 (old)
10001–10050 (new)
Number: 50
Manufacturer: SLM , BBC , MFO , SAAS
Year of construction (s): 1946-1951
Retirement: 1996-1998
Axis formula : Bo'Bo '
Gauge : 1,435 mm
Length over buffers: 14,700 mm (1st series)
14,900 mm (2nd series)
Height: 03'700 mm
Width: 02,950 mm
Service mass: 57 t
Top speed: 125 km / h
Hourly output : 1,850 kW (1st series)
1,900 kW (2nd series)
Starting tractive effort: 135 kN
Hourly traction: 80 kN (1st series)
85 kN (2nd series)

The Re 4/4 I was a series of electric express train locomotives built by the SBB from 1946 . These locomotives were the first bogie locomotives for the SBB. In contrast to the Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon-Bahn in the Ae 4/4 series built from 1944 , the SBB opted for a light locomotive with an axle load of only approx. 14 tonnes in order to be able to travel at higher cornering speeds.

Their main area of ​​responsibility was the management of express trains on the east-west transversal in Switzerland.

The locomotives, originally designated as Re 4/4, were pushed into other services in the 1960s by the RBe 4/4 railcars and the much more powerful Re 4/4 II . Because those same Re 4/4 II also rename products of the Re 4/4 to 4/4 Re done I .


From 1935, the light railcars of the type CLe 2/4 , the so-called Red Arrows, were used by the SBB . These could drive a top speed of 125 km / h. The vehicles were very popular from the start. For these single drivers, however, the possible uses were limited. In particular, the limited space was a problem.

For the cities traffic between Zurich and Geneva is why in 1936 the so-called light express trains were in spring with Ae 3/6 I made a maximum speed v max was increased to 110 km / h (numbers 10637-10714). The trailer load was limited to 150 t, which resulted in a restriction to three cars for the existing rolling stock. With the introduction of the light steel wagons in 1937, more passenger coaches could be attached, but the maximum speed was limited to 110 km / h.

The two three-part BCLe 8/12 501 and 502 multiple units acquired in 1937 were able to reach the desired maximum speed, and with a v max of 160 km / h even had a good reserve. But they too were single drivers with the corresponding problems with seating capacity.

In 1940 the three RFe 4/4 601-603 luggage railcars were put into service. These met the requirement of the v max of 125 km / h. In terms of power, these traction vehicles with only 1340 hp or 985 kW were too weak. The express trains should have been run with uneconomical double or triple traction. In addition, one or two unused luggage compartments would have been carried on each train.

At the same time, the Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon-Bahn was looking for a replacement for its old Be 5/7 locomotives. A bogie locomotive without running axles with an output of 4000 hp was required. The industry met these requirements in an impressive way with the 80 t Ae 4/4 , which in 2006, at 60 years of age, was not quite a thing of the past.

Order a light express train locomotive

The SBB needed a light express train locomotive for their needs that had to meet the following criteria:

  • The locomotive should be able to drive the same cornering speed as the light railcars mentioned, that is, as a rule, 10 km / h faster than other locomotives. The static axle load was therefore not allowed to exceed 14 t.
  • The locomotive had to move trains of up to 300 t on gradients of up to 12 ‰ at the same speeds and travel times as the light railcars.
  • A train with 480 t should be able to accelerate to 75 km / h on gradients of up to 10 ‰, and on flat terrain to 125 km / h.
  • A recuperation brake had to be available with which the weight of the locomotive could be braked on a 38 ‰ gradient and part of the trailer load on smaller slopes.
  • An electropneumatic hopping control with 24 driving and at least 8 braking levels should be installed.
  • The locomotive had to be able to be controlled remotely from a control car or a second locomotive.
  • The appearance of the locomotive should match the lightweight steel car.

Ordering and project planning

The first basics for the project planning were laid down in May 1943. In January 1944, the SBB Board of Directors approved a loan of 4,200,200 francs. for the procurement of six electric locomotives of the type Re 4/4.

The order to the Swiss locomotive industry was divided as follows:


Re 4/4 I TEE in Geneva
Re 4/4 I of the first series with front doors, now operated by SBB Historic
series Company numbers Commissioning data features
until 1965 from 1965 from to
First series 401-406 10001-10006 January 22, 1946 June 26, 1946 with multiple control
407-416 10007-10016 September 17, 1946 April 17, 1947 without multiple controls
417-426 10017-10026 May 31, 1948 November 18, 1948 with inclined driver's table for
standing and seated operation
Second series 427-450 10027-10050 April 25, 1950 November 2, 1951 without recuperation brake and bulkhead doors


Boxes, machines, apparatus

The arrangement of the machines and devices is almost the same in both series. However, there were differences with regard to the box extension.

First series (401-426)

The right side aisle was used for direct access to the machines and devices. The left side aisle was completely closed off with a partition to allow passage for train crews and passengers, for example when the locomotive was controlled remotely by a control car and additional passenger carriages were attached behind the pushing locomotive. For the same reason, the first series had front doors , transition plates and bellows . The cooling air was sucked in on one side through low-lying blinds, which were on the side facing away from the public. This arrangement later caused considerable problems. Above it, as on the other side, were four windows.

Second series (427-450)

Due to the lack of remote control, the second series was unable to operate in the remote-controlled pushing state. Therefore, both side aisles are open for access to the machines and equipment. The machines also have no transitions on the face. The ventilation of these machines was solved by two high ventilation louvres on both sides. In between there were two windows, also on both sides.

The mechanical part


The bogie frames consist of hollow beams welded together. The massive lane clearers are attached to the outer traverse. The carrier for the train protection magnets is located on the inner cross member of the bogie I. The bogies are also connected to the inner cross members with a flexible cross coupling , which facilitates the sheet entry. The wheelsets are supported on the bogie by springs with silent blocks inside, which dampen horizontal shocks.

Traction transmission

The tensile and impact forces are transmitted from the bogie to the locomotive body via the pivot pin and pivot socket .


The torque is transmitted from the motors, which are fixedly mounted in the bogie, to the drive axles via BBC spring drives .

Locomotive body

The type and design of the locomotive body were derived from the Am 4/4 diesel locomotive built in 1939 (later Bm 4/4 II ). The box is designed as a tubular, rigid support and consists of the floor frame, the side walls and parts of the roof. These parts and those for the transmission of tensile and impact forces are made of steel. The rest of the roof and the end walls are made of light metal.

Compressed air system

A two-stage MFO piston compressor supplies the compressed air for the brakes and pneumatic apparatus via the main air reservoir and an apparatus air reservoir .


The locomotives have an electrical as recuperation designated service brake for downhill rides, plus a automatic brake type Westinghouse with a carriage-control valve. It is designed as a two-stage, speed-dependent R brake (“Rapid Brake”). The locomotives also have a direct brake to brake the locomotive and a mechanical parking brake on both driver's cabs. This acts on the bogie below. The locomotives were the first with Stopex - brake linkage adjuster fitted. As a specialty, the brake linkage had to be mechanically "reassigned" when changing the brake pads.

The electrical part

Main circuit

The lightweight pantographs type “BBC 350 / I”, later “BBC 350 / II” with spring-loaded rocker, the disconnector , the earthing switch and the high-voltage entry are the same as for the Ae 4/6 locomotives. The transformer and control were new. For this reason, there was a departure from the high-voltage control previously used on the Ae 8/14 , Ae 4/6 and Ae 4/4 of the BLS.

The transformer converts the contact line voltage in separate windings to the traction motor, heating and auxiliary operating voltage.

The SAAS hopper control had already proven itself with the Ae 3/5 , Ae 3/6 III and the Be 4/7 . It was now used again in the Re 4/4 I in a further improved form.

The two reversing switches establish the connections to the traction motors required for driving and braking. The locomotives of the first series had two positions each for driving and braking, while the second only had two driving positions.

The traction motors of the first series are 8-pole and develop an hourly output of 471 kW at 456 V, 1150 A and 1240 revolutions per minute. The motors of the second series are 10-pole and have an hourly output of 480 kW at 374 V, 1470 A and 1000 revolutions per minute.

The electric brake is designed as an exciter motor circuit . The traction motor 1 is fed by an excitation transformer and excites the motors 2-4, which work as separately excited alternating current generators . These feed the current to the low- voltage side of the transformer via the brake choke coil . From the high voltage side, the current flows back into the contact line . For the first time, this could be done by turning the handwheel backwards and without having to move the reversing switch control switch.


The 220 V nominal voltage for the auxiliary systems is taken from a special winding of the transformer. The auxiliary services can also be energized without a catenary via sockets and by switching the depot switch.

The auxiliaries include:

  • Compressor motor
  • Two fan motors
  • Oil pump motor
  • Motor for the converter group
  • Zero voltage or minimum voltage relay
  • Cab heating
  • Oil heating plate in the driver's cab (1st series)


By the end of 1948, the existing 16 locomotives had covered 6.7 million kilometers. That was an annual average of 172,000 kilometers per machine. Record holder in 1948 was the number 410 with 255,218 km. The monthly output of the locomotives was 25,000 km to 27,000 km. The largest daily circulation for the Re 4/4 I was 1050 km at that time.

In addition, a significant increase was in the transported trailer loads at the same time a significant reduction in power consumption compared to Ae 3/6 I .

Weak points

In the mechanical part , these were mainly the box springs, which were tightly dimensioned and of insufficient quality due to the war.

In the electrical part , among other problems, the eight-pole motors of the first series were the main cause of concern, throughout the entire service life of the locomotives.

As with the other rail and tram vehicles built and equipped with them in Switzerland at that time, difficulties initially arose, especially in the area of hop control , although this was already used in older traction vehicles. With the Re 4/4, these problems were probably related to sucking in dirt and drifting snow. But over the years these problems have been brought under control.

The relatively weak electric brake , and therefore often not used by the locomotive drivers on the ramps of the Gotthard route (only available on the first series), caused a lot of trouble. Due to the fact that it was too weak, the shuttle locomotives looked a short time after overhauls like moving cast ironworks, which also applied to all other locomotives that ran in shuttle services: locomotive Ae 3/5, railcar De 4/4 and railcar Be 4 / 6. It was almost impossible for the depots to keep them clean, which was particularly noticeable when the first Re 4/4 I appeared in red.

In the first series, particularly in the harsh winter of 1962/63, major problems with electrical flashovers occurred. After the delivery of suitable control cars (Dt, DZt, BDt, ABt), these locomotives operated remotely for half of the journeys at the end of the train and sucked in a lot of snow and dirt through the low-lying, simple ventilation grilles (slats). As a result, the motors failed in a row, and flashovers in the rest of the electrical part also occurred quite frequently. They hoped to remedy the situation with a major reconstruction of the entire first series based on the German model. The same difficulties arose there with the pushing standard electric locomotives of the DB class E 41 . Built-in double nozzle ventilation grilles in place of the previous ventilation lamellas were a resounding success. So the SBB decided to convert all 26 locomotives of the first series accordingly. Nozzle ventilation grilles were installed on all eight window and ventilation openings on the entire side, which was not accessible to the public and train crew , while the ventilation openings on the other side of the locomotive were welded shut. This conversion improved the situation significantly, but gave the locomotive a rather brawny appearance on this side. In addition to this measure have been previously (transversely lying below the Lokmitte) mounted on the outside of the main air containers main air reservoir degree valves installed in the engine room.


The number of conversions and changes was varied. Reference is made here to the specialist literature. The most important change was the installation of the multiple controls on locomotives 409-426.


The locomotives ran for a long time in the express train service, especially in the Central Plateau on the Zurich – Geneva and Lucerne – Schaffhausen lines. They were replaced by the RBe 4/4 railcars. Here, too, they were replaced at the beginning of the 1970s by commuter trains with RBe 4/4 railcars. These had become free through the use of the Re 4/4 II in the Central Plateau. The locomotives of the first series were then used for long periods in regional traffic thanks to their shuttle train capability. They were able to impressively demonstrate their capabilities on mountain routes such as the Gotthard ramps.

The locomotives of the second series were used in the second phase of their service life on the one hand for use in highly qualified passenger train traffic ( TEE Rheingold , TEE Bavaria ) and on the other hand in regional train traffic. The locomotives 10033, 10034, 10046 and 10050 received the TEE paint and a pantograph with a wide 1950 mm rocker according to DB / ÖBB standard.

Other locomotives of the second series were also given a wide rocker to enable a passage from St. Margrethen via Bregenz to Lindau , where the locomotive is changed on trains to Munich . Your predecessors in these services were the Ae 4/7 with Buchli drive .

Locomotives from both construction lots were always good for providing replacement services for regular trains.

As the only locomotive at the time with a top speed of v max of 125 km / h, the Re 4/4 I were often on the road with test trains until they were replaced by the Re 4/4 II .

The locomotives also performed frequently in pre-tensioning service in front of any type of train, at the beginning of their career even in front of steam locomotives.

The whereabouts of the Re 4/4 I locomotives

Re 4/4 I 10019 of Centralbahn AG ( Eisenbahn-Kurier ) on August 19, 2007 in Duisburg Central Station

The last jobs for the machines of the second series occurred in Basel SBB , where, after retiring from the mainline service, equipped with rear-view mirrors and shunting radio, they performed shunting and washing services until they were ousted by the prototype railcars RBe 4/4 1401-1406 were. The Re 4/4 II 11120 is now used for this.

There were serious efforts to preserve the locomotive 10050 , which was used in the former TEE colors burgundy / cream, as the last locomotive in these colors for the SBB, because it - in contrast to the express railcar RAe 4/8 1021 («Churchill arrow») and the RAe TEE II - a covered parking space could have been found. Even petitions to Transport Minister Moritz Leuenberger to maintain the 10050 were unsuccessful. The responsible SBB main workshop in Yverdon had the locomotive aborted by the Flückiger scrap dealer in Rothrist. Due to language difficulties, Flückiger (in German-speaking Switzerland) assumed that the SBB would pay 3500 francs to scrap the locomotive; the SBB (main workshop in French-speaking Yverdon-les-Bains) wanted to have this amount for the locomotive. In the end, after the SBB had lost in court, they had to give Flückiger a couple of freight wagons to be scrapped as compensation.

Re 4/4 I 10001 from SBB Historic near Möhlin

The SBB received the two locomotives 10001 (1st series, as it was in the 1950s, Olten location) and 10044 (2nd series, Rapperswil location) in the inventory of the historic locomotives; they were transferred to the SBB Historical Heritage Foundation . Six locomotives were sold to the Classic Rail association. Three more were sold to Germany. Two ended up in the Darmstadt Railway Museum and the third was bought by a private individual. The remaining locomotives were canceled. Classic Rail Locomotives sold four of the locomotives to the now defunct Mittelthurgau Railway (MThB), which used them in free access in Switzerland for various transport tasks. This happened to the displeasure of SBB, as it had linked the sale to Classic Rail with no longer using the Re 4/4 I on the SBB network. Two of these locomotives were then owned by Rail4chem as Re 416 with the numbers 626 and 627 .

Locomotive 10034 with TEE paint has been used by the TEE CLASSICS railway club in front of museum trains since 2009. The locomotive 10009 will be offered as of 2020 by the railway service provider GmbH in Thayngen for use in construction site supply , transfer trips and the like.


  • E. Meyer: The Re 4/4 locomotives of the Swiss Federal Railways .
    Schweizerische Bauzeitung, Volume 67 (1949), Issue 19 (, PDF 10.0 MB)
  • Franz Eberhard: Re 4/4 I lightweight locomotive . Geramond Verlag, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-932785-53-3
  • Claude Jeanmaire: The electric and diesel traction vehicles of Swiss railways. The locomotives of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) .
  • Hans Schneeberger: The electric and diesel traction vehicles of the SBB . Minirex AG, Lucerne
  • Karlheinz Hartung: Brief typology of Swiss locomotives . Transpress Verlag, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-613-71069-2 .
  • Franz Eberhard, Hansueli Gonzenbach: Fascination Re 4/4 I. The popular light express train locomotive of the SBB: the original and its replicas . Specialized press Zurich, Zurich 2007, ISBN 3-9522945-9-4 .

Other sources

Railway amateur magazines , Swiss Railway Review , specialist literature, stories from older locomotive drivers and workshop employees of the SBB as well as from the driver and depot staff of the Zurich Transport Authority (VBZ). In addition, own knowledge in service with the SBB.

See also

Web links

Commons : SBB Re 4/4 I  - Collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Motor vehicle Re 416 . Railway service provider GmbH. Retrieved April 5, 2020.