The DB Class E 10 Electric Locomotive Series

The DB Class E 10 Electric Locomotive Series

By Roger Heid

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 Here is a brief description of the DB Class E 10 Electric Locomotive series, famed for hauling the post-war ‘Rheingold’ and the ‘Rheinpfeil’ (Rhine Arrow) express trains.

In 1950, the DB decided to develop a new locomotive as the successor of the E 44. One of the improvements was seating for the engineer who previously had to perform his duties while standing. The development period stretched out until 1956. The first five trial prototypes were designated E 46.

Once the desired top speed of about 80 mph had been achieved, it was re-designated E-10; in 1968 re-designated E 110.1 Initially, a total of 416 were built. Later on, 379 more were added. They were used for express passenger service. These samples came in blue livery, indicating they were authorized for speeds of 87 mph or greater.


Maerklin model

An improvement of the bogies led to the E 110.12 version. The top speed was now increased to about 100 mph. Starting in 1962, they were assigned to pull the ‘Rheingold’. One year later, they also were seen hauling the ‘Rheinpfeil’ express train. To improve aerodynamics, the ‘crease’ had been added to the front face, starting with E 10 288. In 1968, another change in bogie design led to the E 112 series.


By 1991, it had become apparent that the high speed ability of these engines did not come without a price tag. A number of malfunctions and damage to motors and bogies initiated the E 113 series. The top speed was reduced to 87 mph again. Some of them were then equipped with re-furbished and improved bogie assemblies to re-gain the 100 mph top speed. They performed no better than the original E 10 series and were slated for retirement.

The E 114 series (1988-1995) consisted of 20 re-designated samples of the E 112 series. The top speed had to be reduced twice, first to 87 mph, then to 75 mph. They were scrapped soon thereafter.

Starting in 2005, a few specimens of the 110 and 113 series were moved from the DB Regio to the DB Autozug. They were re-designated E 115 and stationed in Berlin.


Autozug — Go by train and take your car with you.

In 1974, the blue-beige paint scheme was introduced. From 1987 the orient red was used, then modified to the traffic red livery, still seen on all remaining locomotives still in service.

As you can see, the E 10 series had a bumpy and confusing history, often plagued by identity crises, but there were plenty of them around; some of them still are still at work.

Maerklin, Trix and Roco are currently offering models of the E10 in their catalogs.


Left:  Maerklin 37013   Right:  Roco 62345

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