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BVZ Zermatt Railway - Technical facts about HGe 4/4 II

Multipurpose locomotive HGe 4/4 II for operation on adhesion and cog wheel lines

In order to cope with the total traffic over the Brünig pass, the SBB Brünig Railway had 16 Deh 4/6 901-916 traction units at its disposal at the beginning of the eighties. These dated from the beginning of the electrification era (years of manufacture 1941/1942) and could therefore not conceal their weakness due to age in daily operation on the Brünig pass up-grades of up to 120 o/oo. Both of the mountain locomotives HGe 4/4 I 1991-1992 purchased in 1953 could never show really convincing performance due to their serious deficiencies. Therefore in the early seventies, the train development and workshop department started design of a novel traction unit. Furthermore, the BVZ Zermatt Railway (BVZ) and the Furka-Oberalp Railway (FO) as well as the Luzern-Stans-Engelberg Railway (LSE) signaled their interest in new traction units.

The FO reckoned with a strong traffic increase because the opening of the Furka tunnel was imminent (opened in 1982). High growth rates were expected at that time especially with locomotive-drawn trains in transit traffic. The six HGe 4/4 I locomotives built in the forties proved however inadequate for these trains due to their low maximum speed and their susceptibility to breakdowns. Therefore a decision was made to procure a new series of locomotives together with the SBB.
At the beginning of 1983, the manufacture of a preliminary series of five units was given in commission. Three units (101-103) were for the FO, two for the SBB (1951-1952). It was also agreed at the same time that, with the delivery of the eight SBB series locomotives in 1985/86, the two SBB-prototypes would be handed over to the FO after corresponding adaptations.

The locomotive body was manufactured in lightweight steel construction and weighed alone only 5.8 tons! In order to minimize stresses resulting from the rack-and-pinion and the traction wheels, a novel differential drive developed by SLM was used. All four axles are each driven by a pulsating-current traction motor. These are fed by two two-quadrant power converters of the oil-bath type.
The locomotives have regenerative brakes independent of the overhead contact wire, whose switching has been adopted by the local transit shuttle trains. The traction control electronics base on ABB’s microprocessor controlled MICAS-S system and consists of two identical units.

Since the vehicles' performance prooved satisfactory the FO ordered an additional number of three units. In addition to that the BVZ received five identical locomotives in 1990 so that a total number of 21 cog wheel locomotives of type HGe 4/4 II are in service in Switzerland.

Technical facts

Vehicle designation:HGe 4/4 II
Vehicle Nos:1 - 5
- mechanical parts:
- electrical parts:
Wheel arrangement:Bo'Bo'
Years of commissioning:1990
Number of vehicles:5
Max. speed:90 km/h / 40 km/h (cog wheel, uphill)
Gauge:1,000 mm
Length over buffer:14,776 mm
Overall width:2,683 mm
Mass in running order:64.0 t
Hauling load:
- ruling up-gradient:
150 / 130 / 350 t
4 / 11 % / Furka-Tunnel
Nominal catenary line voltage:11 kV, AC 16 2/3 Hz
Number of traction motors:4
Max. rating at wheel rim (1 hour):1,932 kW
Cont. rating at wheel rim:1,778 kW
Max. tractive effort at wheel rim (1 hour):
- corresponding speed:
149.6 kN
45,2 km/h
Cont. tractive effort at wheel rim:
- corresponding speed:
141.2 kN
45,6 km/h
Starting tractive effort at wheel rim:230 kN / 280 kN (cog wheel)
Bogie wheel base:2,980 mm
Diameter of wheels (new):943 mm

Vehicle names

Vehicle names
- 1:Matterhorn
- 2:Monte Rosa
- 3:Dom
- 4:Weisshorn
- 5:Mount Fuji
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Copyright © 1997

Author: Klaus P. Canavan, last change on 2002-01-19