[AT] The Austrian railways present their new interoperable freight locomotive

On 05.03.2018, locomotive 1293 001 was the center of attention of a press event in Vienna. The event shows us the end result of a long tender, that has been the talk of the town for very long time. Launched back in October 2015, it took the Austrian federal railways (ÖBB) more than 15 months to select a winner; Siemens won and was to deliver the new generation of electric locomotives for ÖBB’s rail freight divisions. It became clear that the ÖBB had changed its fleet strategy during the bidding process. No experiments, no new locomotive types, no 6-axle or 8-xale power packs. Instead, ÖBB choose a proven and standardised solution; Starting next June, ÖBB is to receive thirty Vectron multi system electrics. In December the delivery will be completed.


1293 001 on 05.03.2018 – Photo: Ludwig GS

The ‘star’ of this report is locomotive ‘91 81 1293 001-4 A-ÖBB‘. It is standard 6.4 MW Vectron multi system locomotive with a top speed of 160 km/u and the new country specific package ‘AT-DE-IT-HU-CZ-PL-SK-HR-SI’. It is the first of a batch of thirty locomotives that will be used for international freight services connecting Italy with Central Europe and Croatia, and Austria and Central Europe with Poland.


Remarkable detail: On one side all countries except DE and AT were still crossed out. The other side showed some more approvals ready, as seen in this picture – 1293 001 on 05.03.2018 at Wien-Praterstern – Photo: Ludwig GS

With the new locomotives ÖBB will be able to expand its freight services in these regions under the Rail Cargo Carrier brand. However, we also expect that the 1293s will replace 1116s on routes to Croatia and 1216s in Slovenia and Italy. The 230 km/u fast 1116/1216 can then be redeployed in (international) passenger traffic, for which they are more suitable.

Preparation for revenue service

ÖBB 1216 050, Siemens 193 829 and Siemens 193 844 during 25 kV tests at ‘Systembahnhof Ebenfurth’ on 29.11.2017 – Photo: Herbert Pschill

The 1293s will enter service this year. Testing and driver training is well on its way. Over the past year we have already recorded many test and compatibility runs with Siemens test bed locomotives such as the 193 844 (DE-AT-CZ-PL-SK-HU-RO) and 829 (DE-AT-CH-IT-NL). Currently, ÖBB is leasing around ten Vectron AC locomotives from lease company MRCE that will contribute to the driver training process.

More locomotives to come

In 2017 Siemens and ÖBB closed a frame contract, under which up to 200 locomotives can be ordered. So this first batch of 30 is just a first start. The number of multi system 1293s can be raised up to 50 in the next months/years. ÖBB can also decide to order up to 150 AC-only Vectron locomotives (series 1193) with or without diesel shunting module. With AC-only locomotives you can cover the DE-AT-CH region and go to Eastern Europe.

Photo: Ludwig GS

Presentation in Praterstern

Back to 05.03.2018. At the Praterstern station in Vienna officially presented the 1293 001 – a locomotive in red and gray with large ÖBB logos on its side. On the one side, this latter design choice makes sense – the 1293s are property of ÖBB Traktion, and by using the main umbrella brand of the company, they can be used for all divisions. On the other side, yes they will now promote the ÖBB brand abroad, but the name (which includes an umlaut which is not easy to pronounce) does not support the ongoing internationalisation of rail freight traffic in Europe, a development that ÖBB is has been pushing itself until now using the English Rail Cargo brand names.

Impressions of the presentation:

The presentation ongoing – amongst them Wolfgang Hesoun (General director Siemens Österreich (second to the left) and Andreas Matthä (in the middle chair of the board of ÖBB-Holding AG – Photo: Ludwig GS
Note the many technical inscriptions on the 1293 001, prescribed by the many national rail authorities such as the SCMT stickers for Italy – and many different brake system symbols – Also very recent is that Siemens adds the year of construction of the locomotive to the markings. This machine has ‘2018’ near the right cabin entrance – Photo: Ludwig GS
Cake anyone? – Photo: Ludwig GS
Photo: Ludwig GS
Photo: Ludwig GS

To be continued

During the next months we will closely follow the introduction of the new ÖBB Vectron locomotives. Also new orders will be published of course. Every machine will have its own profile in the Railcolor.net database.