ET13 / 140
Until I spot a Polish ‘Bobina’,
I’d like to present two photos of the ŽSSK
140.067: this one was taken in Zwardoń on
and this one on
Another Slovakian ‘Bobina’: 140 079-5, photographed in Žilina on April 10, 2010. This locomotive was sold to STK in September 2012.
140 097-7 from the Rail Polska fleet tries to escape my camera: Zduńska Wola Karsznice, November 26, 2010.
140 079-5 from the STK fleet, photographed at the same location on a cold and misty day of December 9, 2012.
140 074-6 before repainting, photographed in Czarnolesie on August 19, 2005; the other locomotive is 121 077-2. Photo from my collection.
In late 1940s, in view of planned electrification of main lines, Czechoslovak state railways ČSD sought for a modern universal electric locomotive with a potential for further development. Suitable machine was found in Switzerland. It had been designed for Berg-Lötschberg-Simplon Bahn (BLS) and first example was accepted in November 1944; in all, eight were built for this railway until 1955. They were also built for state railways (SBB), which received 100 examples between 1946 and 1951. In 1949, well-known Škoda works of Plzeň acquired license rights to build this locomotive. Agreements were signed with Schweizerische Lokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik of Winterthur and Société Anonyme des Ateliers de Sécheron of Genéve; first example was completed in 1952 and accepted by ČSD in 1953. After trials, of which some took place in Poland, 100 machines were supplied for Czechoslovak state railways as class E 499.0 in six batches, differing in minor details – factory designations type 12E1 through 12E6. Two were built for the Soviet Union (class ChS1, or ЧС1 in Russian script – factory designation type 24E1) and ten for Northern Korea (factory designation 22E1). I have no information on Korean locomotives (not a big surprise, anyway); in the USSR, first two ChS1s were supplied in 1957 and remained in use until 1971. Later a batch of 100 machines with the same designation followed, but this was in fact a modified version (factory designation 41E0 and 41E1); last of them, ChS1-102, was in fact a prototype of class ChS3, with further modifications and uprated AL-4846eT traction engines.
First production locomotives – easily distinguishable by round side windows – immediately proved very successful and remained in use for a long time. Their designation in the ČSD service was later changed to class 140 and their common nickname was ‘Bobina’, after the axle arrangement. Most of them were withdrawn in the 1990s and supplanted by more modern classes 162 and 163. Several have survived into 21st century with ČD (Czech Republic) and ŽSSK (Slovakia); according to Marco van Uden (http://mercurio.iet.unipi.it) in the beginning of 2003 ČD had six machines in use and ŽSSK four. In 2006 ČD had only four, of which three were intended for preservation as historic machines, while one Slovakian 140 was handed over to ŽSCS, a subsidiary of ŽSSK, and other three served on the Žilina – Katowice line, linking Slovakia with Poland. Last of them, 140.067, hauled the ‘Góral’ express train for the last time on December 9, 2006. ŽSSK 140.047-2 (ex ČSD E499.047, Škoda 3115/1957), withdrawn from use in 1995, has been preserved as a heritage loco and is kept in working order in Žilina.
When, in early 21st century, private railway operators emerged in Poland, purchase of second-hand foreign locomotives was usually for them the most reasonable option. Many came from Czech and Slovak railways, who had a number of surplus machines at hand. 140s, although rather elderly, were also included. First two appeared in Poland in August 2005: these were 140.099 and 140.074, purchased by CTL from ŽSSK (first Polish locomotives of this type came from Slovakia). They were redesignated ET13-R001 and ET13-R002 (why not ET12? Surely, CTL is not superstitious!). 140.064 followed in December 2007; this locomotive became ET13-R003. In late 2011 ET13-R001 was sold to STK and ET13-R002 to Rail Polska. The latter company obtained its first machine of this type in January 2007: 140.059-7 (Škoda 3589/1957) was in fact their very first electric locomotive. Next came 140.052-7 and 140.097-7, also to Rail Polska, in late 2007. They were followed by 140.042-3 and 140.079 in May and September 2012, respectively. Two examples were purchased from ČD, both (140-014 and 140-045) by STK; to make things more complicated, in October 2012 they were re-designated 30E1-014 and 30E1-045.
Further purchases seem unlikely, as there are few ‘Bobinas’ available for sale: both in Czech Republic and Slovakia they are considered heritage locos and some even haul special trains. ET13-R003 was offered for sale as scrap in April 2014.
Purchase of 50-years old locomotives can be seen either as an act of desperation or as appreciation of their qualities. It should be kept in mind, however, that PKP class EP05 (of which the last example ran with a scheduled train in May 2008 and is still serviceable) was in fact a direct development of the original ‘Bobina’ and differed mainly in details.
Main technical data
Including 2 for SZD (class ChS1)
and 10 for
2) Until April 2014.
3) 140.001 through 017 – 15 600 mm, 140.018 through 040 – 15 800 mm.
References and acknowledgments
- Monographic article on class 140 by Bogdan Waga (KMD vol. 2/2005);
- AV, AL;
- SK, various issues;
- www.kolejowaklatka.org (website by Marek Dąbrowski).