This is the situation: The Czech railways (ČD) operate the Prague – Berlin – Hamburg Eurocity (EC) trains. At this moment, these trains have a 15 minute stop at Dresden, to change locomotive as there no multi system electrics used for this service. This is necessary as the 371 series locos coming from Prague are too slow (slow acceleration, high speed only 160 km/u) for the German part of the trip and not enough German drivers are trained for these machines.
So ČD has tendered for such multi system machines and it closed a deal with lease company ELL for ten locomotives for a period of ten years. As of December (eventually) these should enter service; no more locomotive change in Dresden.
But ČD is relying on Deutsche Bahn, its partner in this plan, which is responsible for having certified and skilled train drivers available for running the EC trains. zdopravy.cz reports that Deutsche Bahn will not have enough train drivers available for the Vectron locomotives (this type is not part of the DB fleet) next December.
So what will happen? The Vectrons will enter service, but for the first months they will only be used from Prague to Dresden vv. Several machines will be used for training purposes. First non-stop services with Vectron locomotives are expected to be introduced mid-2018. The issue that still needs to be resolved is that with the next time table change in December, the schedule is already based on the faster non-stop service…
Railcolor: Siemens has already completed a batch of ten multi system locomotives for ELL with DE/AT/PL/CZ/SK/HU/RO package which can be used for the ČD Prague – Berlin – Hamburg trains. The designated 193 289-298 all have a neutral, white livery at this moment. Several are currently in use by rail (freight) operators in Central Europe, such as LTE, RegioJet, SETG, AWT and CargoServ.