Main network





Back to index

Logo RhB

Rhaetian Railway - Technical facts about Ge 4/4 I

Multi purpose main line locomotive of type Ge 4/4 I with step transformer

During the first three decades of electrical traction all trains on the main network were hauled by a small number of locomotives with rod drives. In the early forties the Rhaetian Railway (RhB) ordered four units of a modern bogie locomotive that derived in many parts from the BLS Ae 4/4 251 and 252. The design of these locomotives was such that they can be used on the Chur - Arosa line that was operated by the RhB since the merger of the independent ChA with the RhB in 1943. Today the Chur - Arosa trains are mainly hauled by locomotives of class Ge 4/4 II though. Due to their high maximum speed the vehicles of class Ge 4/4 I were mainly used for hauling fast trains during their first years of operation. Since the vehicles' performance was satisfactory an additional number of six units was ordered in 1953.

A step transformer feeds four traction motors. All locomotives are equipped with a regenerative brake that serves for breaking the locomotive and half the trailer load on routes with 35 o/oo and 45 o/oo gradient. The exciter motor in breaking works as a series generator. It acts like a negative resistance and consequently represents a pure excitance.
Soon the more powerful Ge 6/6 II and the Ge 4/4 II locomotives were used instead of the Ge 4/4 I for hauling express trains and heavy fright trains.

After being in service for almost four decades in their green livery many components had to be renewed. Therefore the complete series underwent a rebuilding procedure in RhB's main workshop in Landquart in the eighties. They were equipped with new driver's caps, new cables, new transformer windings and other new electrical appliances.
Today these locomotives are mainly used for commuter services and light freight trains between Davos and Filisur, in Engadine and in the Rhine Valley.
Modern single leg pantographs have replaced the old pantographs on all locomotives of class Ge 4/4 I as from 1997. Due to the modern looks it is difficult to guess the true age of these vehicles. Thus they are also used to haul the prestigous Bernina Express with RhB's new panoramic cars.

Technical facts

Vehicle designation:Ge 4/4 I
Vehicle Nos:601 - 610
- mechanical parts:
- bogies:
- electrical parts:
Wheel arrangement:Bo'Bo'
Years of commissioning:1947 and 1953, rebuilt 1986-91
Number of vehicles:10
Max. speed:80 km/h (originally 75 km/h)
Gauge:1,000 mm
Length over buffer:12,100 mm
Overall width:2,650 mm
Mass in running order:47 t (originally) / 48.0 t (rebuilt)
Hauling load:
- ruling up-gradient:
185 / 135 t
3,5 / 4,5 %
Nominal catenary line voltage:11 kV, AC 16.7 Hz
Number of traction motors:4 (type 8 SW 570)
Max. rating at wheel rim:1,184 kW
Max. tractive effort at wheel rim:142 kN
Cont. tractive effort at wheel rim:92 kN
Transmission gear ratio:1 : 5.437
Bogie wheel base:2,500 mm
Diameter of wheels (new):1,070 mm

Vehicle names

Vehicle names
- 601:Albula
- 602:Bernina
- 603:Badus
- 604:Calanda
- 605:Silvretta
- 606:Kesch
- 607:Surselva
- 608:Madrisa
- 609:Linard
- 610:Viamala
Top of page
Copyright © 1997

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