AEG battery locomotive
AEG 4184/1928 during reconstruction, photographed at the Skierniewice depot on August 6, 2005.
Another picture taken on the same occasion.
Reconstruction completed! AEG 4184/1928 photographed at the Skierniewice depot on September 20, 2015. Photo: Dr Jan Bury (used by permission).
Side drawing of the AEG 4184/1928 by Maciej Kucharski (source: SS vol. 127).
Battery-powered electric locomotives might at one time be viewed a sound alternative to fireless steam locos. Despite their inherent deficiencies, like low tractive effort and limited range, they found some use, especially at railway depots, mines and some industrial establishments. German Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG) between 1908 and 1945 built about 75 standard-gauge two-, three- and four-axle battery locomotives with power ratings ranging from 9 to 150 kW, some of them for export. One of them (factory number 4184) was ordered in 1928 by Witaszyce sugar plant in Poland. It was a small, two-axle locomotive of compact layout, fitted with two 15.5 kW electric motors running at 250 V. It was used solely for switching and probably had no individual service number.
The locomotive enjoyed a long service life: it remained in use until mid-1990s. After withdrawal it was handed over to PSMK (Polskie Stowarzyszenie Miłośników Kolei – Polish Association of Railway Fans) and transported to Skierniewice in April 1995. Refurbishment, or rather reconstruction, was started there, but due to lack of necessary equipment was finally completed at the Tramwaje Warszawskie (Warsaw Tramways) depot. First test run took place on June 20, 2014 (borrowed battery set was used) and the locomotive was brought back to Skierniewice in November. Currently it remains on static display, as purchase of batteries is beyond the financial capabilities of the PSMK. If a sponsor is found, it will most probably run again. It is worth mentioning here that the PSMK collection includes also a Wittfeld-type battery-powered EMU, built for KPEV by Waggonfabrik Görlitz in 1913, the sole surviving vehicle of this type, which is kept operational.
According to the article mentioned in the References, Zduny sugar plant, which was taken over by Witaszyce in 1929, also had a battery electric locomotive built by AEG. Little is known about it, apart from the fact that its power rating was 22 kW. According to the AEG factory list (see References) and a note by Krzysztof Zintel in SS vol. 129, this locomotive was 3484/1926 and ran at 150 V; both these sources state that it was supplied directly to Witaszyce, so this issue remains open. Witaszyce sugar plant was closed down in early 2000s.
Main technical data
References and acknowledgments
- article by Tadeusz Suchorolski and Maciej Kucharski (SS vol. 127);
- AEG factory list by Jens Merte (downloadable from www.werkbahn.de/eisenbahn/lokbau/).