Locomotives / Train Sets

DB Class 103

Electric Locomotive

"Including prototypes, nearly 150 DB Class 103 electric locomotives were built for West German railways during the early 1970s."

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Specifications [+]
The DB Class 103 was post-World War 2 West German standardized electric locomotive. The design was constructed under various brand labels: AEG, Brown Boveri & Cle, Henschel, Krauss-Maffei, Krupp, and Siemens AG during its production run. With the prototype arriving in 1965 (and four total pilot vehicles being completed), the run spanned from 1970 to 1973 resulting in 145 locomotives for service. The original designation of 1965 was "Class E 03". Initial operational service began with the Class 103.1 form in May of 1970.

For its time on the rails, primary operators were Deutsche Bundesbahn (original) and Deutsche Bahn AG. The Class 103 proved a regular sight for Trans Europ Express (TEE) as well as InterCity.

The prototype form weighed 123 tons (short) while production vehicles followed slightly heavier at 126 tons (short). The original locomotives measured 63.11 feet long with the final 30 (No.103 216 and onwards) of the fleet completed with a length of 66.3 feet.

Outwardly, the loco's appearance was quite reflective of the design style of the Cold War period - elegant yet utilitarian-looking. This included rounded ends with round headlamps. There was a two-piece front windshield and sliding side panels at the cab. Two pantograph assemblies were positioned fore and aft over the frame of the locomotive. Access to the driving cab as by way of hinged, rectangular access doors found along the sides of the unit.

Drive power was through an overhead 15 kV 16-2/3 Hz catenary accessed via pantograph assembly and traction was provided through six motors. The braking scheme was electric at the locomotive and air-based across the train set. The system could achieve speeds of 124 miles-per-hour (200kmh) with unit No.103-118 recording a speed of 176mph (283kmh) in June of 1985. Total output power was rated between 13,900 horsepower and 16,000 horsepower. The wheel arrangement is Co'-Co' in the UIC convention.

Three safety systems protected the Class 103 series, these being the Sifa, LZB, and PZB types.

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Specifications [ DB Class 103 ]

AEG / Henschel / Krauss-Maffei / Krupp / Siemens AG - West Germany; Brown Boveri & Cie - Switzerland

1970 - 1973
Production Run

149 units
Production Total
Train driver seating position graphic

Driver Position
19.5m | 64.0 ft
NOTE: May include length of entire train set
114,305 kg
(252,043 lb | 126 US Tons)
Locomotive power source graphical icon
Power Source
15 kV 16-2/3 Hz catenary arrangement utilizing overhead twin pantograph assembly.
Engine / Drive Source
Six units.
Traction Motor / Sets
16,000 hp
Rated Output Power
200.0 kph
(124.3 mph)
Max Speed
Wheel Arrangement
(Loco Facing Left)

Safety Systems
Series Variants
Class 103 - Base Series Designation.
Class 103.0 - Initial operating form.
Class 103.1 - Service model of May 1970.
Class E 03 - Original series designation.
Operating Countries

National flag of modern Germany
Customers / Operators:
Deutsche Bundesbahn; Deutsche Bahn AG
NOTE: Includes both past and present

Image of the DB Class 103

Image of the DB Class 103
Side illustration view of the DB Class 103 electric locomotive.
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