DB Class 101 - The DB's high-performance universal loco

DB Class 101 - the tried and tested everyday locomotive

The DB Class 101 electric locomotive commissioned by Deutsche Bahn AG is still regarded as a proven everyday locomotive in German long-distance traffic. By the company Adtranz the previous series 103 was replaced by the new addition of the DB.

Details of series 101 

Length: 19,100 mm
Numbering: 101 001-145
Weight: 84.0 t
Years of construction: 1996-1999
Top speed: 220 km/h
since 1 Dec. 2014: 200 km/h
(101 124, 126, 130 and 131 220 km/h)
Number: 145
Power: 6400 kW
Power system: 15 kV, 16.7 Hz
Traction motors: four three-phase asynchronous motors
Propulsion: Hollow shaft drive, IGA
Attractive force: 300 kN
Brake: electrodynamic regenerative brake,
disc brake on hollow shaft
Train protection: Sifa, LZB 80 with PZB 90,
ETCS (101 140-144)
Axle formula: Bo'Bo'
Interesting facts
The electric locomotive DB Class 101 belongs to the type with the axle formula Bo'Bo'. With the axle formula Bo'Bo', two individually driven axles are installed in each of two different frame bogies.

More interesting facts

The DB Class 101 and its history

Already at the beginning of the nineties the wear of the series 103 electric locomotives used in the fast and heavy intercity service was noticeable. Due to the high annual mileage of about 350,000 kilometers of such a locomotive, wear and damage to the rear derailleur and the traction motors and bogie frame occurred very early on. At this time, 145 of these locomotives were on duty, which now had to be replaced. Now it was up to the German railway industry to design prototypes and proposals for new high-performance locomotives. At the request of DB, Siemens and Krauss-Maffei, AEG Rail Vehicle Technology and ABB Henschel presented their proposals and concepts. Ultimately, the order for the 101 series from DB to the company ABB Henschel was awarded. Also for the fast freight train service, the 101er models should be equipped.

In 1994 it was finally time. With the number 101 003 went the first locomotive off the line. A special feature is that the first 3 models of their series were produced in an oriental red color. Only the following models were made in the “traffic red” known to us. Also interesting is the fact that due to the later merger of ABB Henschel and AEG rail vehicle technology, certain sub-elements of the locomotive were manufactured at two different locations. Of the DB Class 101 were made until 1999 145 of these copies.

A misjudged dimensioning of the drive technology ultimately led to the technical failure of numerous vehicles of the 101 series at the beginning of 2003. The 103 and 120 series finally had to replace the failed vehicles.

The locomotive box of DB class 101 - Simple but efficient

In the locomotive design of the DB Class 101 an optimal ratio of cost and efficiency had to be found. This was achieved with the help of a wide, but slightly bevelled front. Thus, a streamlined and cost-effective design could arise.


In 2009, a new type of LED technology was experimentally installed in some of the DB Class 101 locomotives. Based on this, there followed an LED variant of high-beam headlamps, which represented a world first in rail vehicle technology.

On the road today!

By the end of 1997, 60 Series 101 vehicles had already entered service as a replacement for the 103 Series. The total production was turned off in 1999 with the last locomotive – in the Henschel factory in Kassel. The 101 series is used both as a freight train and in regional traffic.