Open main menu

Rhaetian Railway Ge 4/4 III

The Rhaetian Railway Ge 4/4 III is a class of metre gauge Bo′Bo′ electric locomotives of the Rhaetian Railway (RhB), which is the main railway network in the Canton of Graubünden, Switzerland.

Rhaetian Railway Ge 4/4 III
Type and origin
Power typeElectric
BuilderSLM / ABB, Adtranz
Build date1993–1999
Total produced12
 • UICBo′Bo′
Gauge1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) metre gauge
Length16,000 mm (52 ft 6 in)
Width2,800 mm (9 ft 2 in)
Loco weight60 tonnes (59.1 long tons; 66.1 short tons)
Electric system/s11 kV 16.7 Hz AC Overhead
Current pickup(s)Pantograph
Traction motorsFour (type 6 FRA 5248)
Performance figures
Maximum speed100 km/h (62 mph)
Power output3,100 kW (4,160 hp)
Tractive effort200 kN (44,960 lbf)
OperatorsRhaetian Railway
LocaleGraubünden, Switzerland
Current ownerRhaetian Railway
DispositionAll still in service

The class is so named because it was the third class of locomotives of the Swiss locomotive and railcar classification type Ge 4/4 to be acquired by the Rhaetian Railway. According to that classification system, Ge 4/4 denotes a narrow gauge electric adhesion locomotive with a total of four axles, all of which are drive axles.


In order to manage the sharp increase in traffic on its network after the opening of the Vereina Tunnel, the Rhaetian Railway joined in 1989 with Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works and ASEA Brown Boveri, to develop a new generation of electric locomotives, the drive train of which was to be based upon AC technology with GTO Thyristors. The original plan for a six axle variant of the Ge 4/4 II, which would have had benefits on the nearly straight section of line through the tunnel, was rejected, in favour of a universally deployable locomotive with four axles, which could also be used on sections with tight radius curves. The result was the Ge 4/4 III class.

On 7 December 1993, the first Ge 4/4 III machine, no 641, was officially put into service. Between 1994 and 1999, eleven further locomotives followed, in three series, and were given numbers 642 to 652. The first of these further orders, made in 1989, consisted of six locomotives, and the second further order, in 1990, was for three. The third, placed with Adtranz in 1996, was intended to cover the additional demand due to the opening of the Vereina Tunnel, and was for another three machines.

The Ge 4/4 IIIs are now found at the head of almost all of the train sets on the Albula Railway, and they are the only locomotives used to haul car trains through the Vereina Tunnel. All of the locomotives in the class are currently decorated with colourful advertising liveries.

Accidents and incidentsEdit

On 13 August 2014, No. 651 was hauling a passenger train that was struck by a landslide and derailed at Tiefencastel, Graubünden. Eleven people were injured.

Technical detailsEdit

The class was designed for 11 kV AC at a frequency of ​16 23 Hz, and with a top speed of 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph). The Ge 4/4 IIIs weigh 62 tonnes (61 long tons; 68 short tons) and have an output of 2,400 kilowatts (3,200 hp) at 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph). They are 16,000 millimetres (630 in) long and 3,860 millimetres (152 in) high. Their control technology corresponds almost completely with that of the SBB-CFF-FFS Re 460 class of locomotive.

The 12 locomotives were given names of small communities in Graubünden, on the territory of which the Rhaetian Railway operates. Depending upon the livery applied to each particular locomotive, the names are applied at various places on the right and left sides of the vehicle, with the traffic number between 641 and 652 applied to each front end, and also on the lower sides. Beside the name on each locomotive is also the emblem of the particular place.

Similar locomotives operate also on the Bière–Apples–Morges Railway (BAM), (French: Chemin de fer Bière-Apples-Morges), as Ge 4/4 Nos. 21 and 22, as well as on the Montreux-Oberland Bernois (MOB) Railway, (French: Chemin de fer Montreux-Oberland bernois), as Ge 4/4 Nos. 8001–8004.

List of locomotivesEdit

The following locomotives in the class are in operation on the Rhaetian Railway:

List of Ge 4/4 III locomotives of the Rhaetian Railway
Road number Name Coat of arms Commissioning Status Advertising livery
December 2010[1] August 2016 August 2017
641 Maienfeld   07.12.1993 in service Coop -
642 Breil/Brigels   24.01.1994 in service Self-promotion: RhB Team - -
643 Vals   22.02.1994 in service Ems-Chemie
644 Savognin   14.04.1994 in service Radio e Televisiun Rumantscha
645 Tujetsch   31.05.1994 in service Radio e Televisiun Rumantscha
646 Santa Maria Val Müstair   27.06.1994 in service Self-promotion: BÜGA - -
647 Grüsch   20.09.1994 in service Graubündner Kantonalbank
648 Susch   05.11.1994 in service Lanxess None
649 Lavin   08.12.1994 in service Holcim JORIMANN
650 Seewis im Prättigau   07.09.1999 in service Self-promotion: UNESCO World Heritage
651 Fideris   28.09.1999 in service Self-promotion: Glacier Express
652 Vaz/Obervaz
  05.11.1999 in service HC Davos


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Fahrzeugwerbung" [Vehicle advertising] (PDF) (in German). Haribu. Retrieved 8 December 2010.

Further readingEdit

  • Belloncle, Patrick (2005). Das grosse Buch der Rhätischen Bahn: 1889–2001 [The Big Book of the Rhaetian Railway: 1889–2001]. Kerzers: Edition Viafer. ISBN 3952249408. (in German)
  • Finke, Wolfgang; Schweers, Hans (1998). Die Fahrzeuge der Rhätischen Bahn. Band 3 Lokomotiven, Triebwagen, Traktoren 1889–1998 [The Motive Power of the Rhaetian Railway Vol 3 Locomotives, Railcars, Tractors 1889–1998]. Aachen: Verlag Schweers + Wall. ISBN 3894941057. (in German)
  • Schönborn, Hans-Bernhard (2009). Die Rhätische Bahn Geschichte und Gegenwart [The Rhaetian Railway History and Present]. München: GeraMond. ISBN 9783765471629. (in German)

This article is based upon a translation from the German language version as at December 2009.