[DE] ‘Interim rail operator’ RailAdventure adds three 111s to its fleet

Dessau, 01.03.2017: ‘Interim Operator’ RailAdventure from Germany has presented its ‘new’ 111 series locomotives. Three machines, that have been thoroughly overhauled by DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung GmbH (DB Vehicle Maintenance GmbH) over the past months, will be added to the fleet. Say hello to 111 210, 215 and 222.

RailAdventure is a company that is specialised in “the operation of train journeys in the fields of upmarket events and transport, as well as special test and transportation runs for the rail industry”. It all started back in 2006 with the world record project with Siemens ES 64 U4 locomotive “1216 050” – nowadays in service with ÖBB as 1216 025. Since 2010 RailAdventure is a GmbH (a German limited company).

RailAdventure 139 558 with Akiem 76002 at Praest – 07.04.2013 – Photo: Henk Zwoferink

The ‘interim rail operator’

Nowadays, you might know the company for its many transports of new trains throughout Europe, often an unique spectacle on rails. The operator positions itself as ‘interim operator’ for railway vehicles that have not yet been handed over to the end customer. These, often newly developed, train types are first subjected to test and certification programs, that not seldom take years to complete. During this ‘test’ period the vehicles are generally operated under the responsibility of the manufacturer, however RailAdventure can support such a project by acting as vehicle keeper and/or as ‘Entity in Charge of Maintenance’ or ECM. The company can also execute homologation projects. For example, RailAdventure is currently responsible for the homologation of Stadler Rail’s SMILE/SBB Giruno EMUs in Germany.

RailAdventure and a MRCE 484 105 at St.Jodok – 24.02.2016 – Photo: Henk Zwoferink

The RailAdventure locomotive fleet

RailAdventure maily focuses on Germany and its neighboring countries. This does not mean the company is not up for more ‘exotic’ challenges. For example, Sprinter trains from CAF in Spain are taken to the Netherlands, Siemens Velaro high speed trains were taken from Germany to Turkey. This is done in cooperation with many partners, from which locomotives are being hired.

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For Germany and Austria RailAdventure deploys its own locomotive fleet, which as of now comprises of 5 electric machines. In 2011, the 139 558 was the first one to became property of RailAdventure, followed by the unique 103 222 (the only one with a vmax of 280 km/h) in 2015. On 28.08.2017 RailAdventure acquired three former DB 111 series locomotives: 111 210, 215 and 222. All were originally built for Deutsche Bahn. All five locomotives have the two-tone grey RailAdventure livery. An overview:

  • RailAdventure 139 558-1 / 91 80 6139 558-1 D-RADVE = Krauss-Maffei 19072 / 1965
  • RailAdventure 103 222-6 / 91 80 6103 222-6 D-RADVE = Krauss-Maffei 19635 / 1973
  • RailAdventure 111 210-1 / 91 80 6111 210-1 D-RADVE = Henschel 32557 / 1983
  • RailAdventure 111 215-0 / 91 80 6111 215-0 D-RADVE = Krauss-Maffei 19922 / 1984
  • RailAdventure 111 222-6 / 91 80 6111 222-6 D-RADVE = Krupp 5560 / 1984

True, there was also a SBB Re 420 series locomotive in the RA color scheme, the designated Re 421 383, but this one was hired.


All locomotives have been subjected to a deep overhaul before they came to RailAdventure. As the operator uses its fleet very intensively, the machines need to very reliable and downtime needs to be reduced to a minimum. That is also the reason why only ‘old-skool’ locomotive have been acquired so far. They are an economic, simple and robust alternative to more modern locomotives types. Another advantage is that the 103/111/139 come from a time when different German factories were still completing locomotive orders together for the German state railways (the new 111s all come from a different factory; Henschel / Krauss-Maffei / Krupp!). These ‘general’ designs support RailAdventure’s desired market position as a ‘neutral company’, offering its services to all manufacturers and operators in Europe.

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RailAdventure 111 215 at Dessau on 01.03.2018 – Photo: Photo: Henk Zwoferink
Photo: Simon Wijnakker

The new 111 series locomotives

Lets go back to 01.03.2018. In the freezing cold (-8 degrees Celsius) we take a first look at the three new 111 series locomotives, line-up outside the workshops in Dessau. We see a freshly painted 111 210, 215 and 222 with new LED lights. The locomotives, formerly being used to push/pull regional passenger trains for DB Regio, have a top speed of 140 km/h 160 km/h, more than sufficient for (ad hoc) train transport duty.

Over the past months, almost all components of these 111s were revised. The Dessau works paid special attention to the driver cab design of the locos. It now features a blue painted driver desk, LED lighting systems, new ergonomic seats and airconditioning.

Photo: Henk Zwoferink
RailAdventure 111 215 – Dessau – 01.03.2018 – Photo: Henk Zwoferink

The 111 215 is the first to be put in service. It is available to RailAdventure as of now. The 111 222 will be handed over at the end of March, with the 210 being third coming in April.

This type of locomotive being owned by a private rail operator is still very unique. Over 220 machines were built, around 150 are still in use by Deutsche Bahn. Most machines that have been withdrawn still exist, but are not used. Some are now used for heating rolling stock. The yellow 111 059 is used by DB Systemtechnik.

RailAdventure 111 215 – Dessau – 01.03.2018 – Photo: Henk Zwoferink
Photo: Henk Zwoferink