ET41-139, photographed in Żywiec on
the same machine at the border station of Zebrzydowice,
Several pictures of ET41s from my collection can be found here.
picture taken at the Żywiec station: ET41-078,
ET41-074, photographed at the Zwardoń station on Slovakian border on March 7, 2003.
ET41-084, photographed in Milówka in southern Poland on March 1, 2005.
ET41-168, photographed at the same location on the next day. Two-section locomotives are the favorites of graffiti ‘artists’ (I find it hard to restrain myself from using more explicit terms...).
ET41-162, photographed in Jaworzyna Śląska on May 1, 2006...
...and ET41-150, photographed on the same occasion.
Two-section locomotives are not frequent visitors to Warsaw. This picture of the ET41-122 was taken on June 10, 2006.
ET41-160, Rybnik depot, October 20, 2006.
ET41-145, stuck between two ET22s. Photo taken at the Węgliniec depot on July 16, 2008.
Three ET41s, photographed at the Jelenia Góra depot on November 29, 2008: ET41-156…
ET41-191, photographed in Zebrzydowice on March 3, 2009.
ET41-070, photographed at Skalite, Slovakia on the next day.
ET41-121 in new PKP Cargo livery, photographed at the same location on April 14, 2009.
Two pictures, taken at the Rybnik depot on April 18, 2009: ET41-004…
ET41-021, Zduńska Wola Karsznice, April 21, 2009.
ET41-041, photographed at exactly the same location on June 1, 2009.
And yet another: ET41-134, August 5, 2009.
Two ET41s, photographed in Ostrów Wielkopolski on May 21, 2010: ET41-199…
Zduńska Wola Karsznice again: ET41-038, February 16, 2011…
…and again: ET41-071, March 26, 2011…
…and again: ET41-193 in new PKP Cargo livery, May 13, 2011…
…and yet again: ET41-074, September 9, 2011.
Polish ET41s can be often seen at the Skalite station in Slovakia; here ET41-068 is accompanied by Slovakian 770 058-6. April 10, 2012.
ET41-190, photographed in Nowy Sącz on April 28, 2012.
ET41-174, Zduńska Wola Karsznice, September 12, 2012.
ET41-118, photographed two days later at the same location.
ET41-016, photographed near a small station Kotomierz on March 9, 2013.
ET41-093, photographed at the Kraków Prokocim station on June 20, 2013.
ET41-136, photographed on the same occasion.
ET41-130 hauls a coal train from Bogdanka colliery to Kozienice power plant; photo taken near Bąkowiec on July 21, 2013.
ET41-190, Zebrzydowice station, March 4, 2014.
ET41-105, photographed in Petrovice, Czech Republic, two days later…
…and back to Zebrzydowice on the same day: ET41-132.
ET41-045, photographed near Bąkowiec on October 10, 2015.
ET41-190, PKP Cargo, Petrovice, Czech Republic, March 10, 2017.
ET41-018 from the same operator, photographed in Zebrzydowice on the same day.
ET41-063, photographed in Muszyna on May 3, 2019.
ET41-025, PKP Cargo, photographed near Warszawa Okęcie station on October 16, 2019.
ET41-077, photographed at the Puławy Azoty station on May 20, 2021.
The same location: ET41-190, PKP Cargo, January 30, 2022.
Azoty one more time: ET41-198, PKP Cargo, May 3, 2022…
… and ET41-169, photographed exactly two months later.
Of three types of two-section heavy electric freight locomotives operated by PKP, class ET41 is the most numerous one. It is also the only one of indigenous origin, albeit based on a license-built EU07. The need for such locomotive resulted from increasing weight of freight trains, especially those transporting coal – the basic primary energy source in Poland and for a long time the most important export commodity. This need became particularly acute with the electrification of the Coal Trunk Line between Upper Silesia and Gdynia on the Baltic coast, which was completed in 1969. In order to fulfill most urgent demands, a batch of thirty two-section locomotives was ordered from Škoda (factory type 77E1, PKP class ET40). They were delivered between 1975 and 1976. At the same time it was decided to develop a two-section variant of the EU07, built under British license by Pafawag of Wrocław (pre-war Linke-Hofmann). Such locomotive would be able to yield 4000 kW at continuous rating and the tractive effort of over 50 tonnes at startup, combined with the suitability for long, slow startups with heavy drafts. Design was completed in 1976 and production was entrusted to the Cegielski (HCP) works of Poznań, which had never built electric locomotives before. In fact, HCP – as far as railway stock was concerned – had specialized in heavy diesel locomotives, having built SP45s, SU46s and SP47 prototypes, but their development was terminated.
Prototype (factory type 203E) appeared in 1977 and production started immediately, new locomotive being classed ET41. As HCP could not fulfill PKP demands, second batch of thirty ET40s was delivered by Škoda in 1978 (factory type 77E2, with minor modifications). Furthermore, yet another heavy two-section locomotive was ordered from the Soviet NEVZ; this machine, classed ET42, was intended to precede ET41 in service, but its development took longer than expected and first examples were accepted only in May 1978. Initial plans for the ET41 production called for about 500 examples, but with the economic crisis of early 1980s this number was cut down to 200, last being delivered in 1983. For the same reason a development version, factory type 203Ea, with redesigned body (similar to that of the SU46 diesel locomotive, also built by HCP), various minor modifications and slightly reduced weight, remained on drawing board.
Just like ET40, and contrary to ET42, this locomotive was built by simply connecting two singles, with ballast in place of two cabs. Each section, distinguished by a capital A or B after the service number, could be de-coupled and operated as an independent machine: in fact, sections of three ET41s written off after accidents (ET41-036B, -088A and -116B) were later converted into EU07-537, -544 and -545. As mentioned above, ET41 was based on EU07, but with some modifications. In particular, the body was strengthened and simplified, longer by 320 mm and heavier by about 3.5 tonnes. This allowed for fitting automatic couplings, instead of standard screw-type ones. These modifications were also incorporated in the second variant of the EU07, built at HCP from 1983 onwards as factory type 303E (at Pafawag, EU07 was supplanted on production lines by ET22). Of course, ET41 is a freight locomotive, but can also haul heavy passenger trains. This has happened only exceptionally. In the 1980s ET41-100, in red and white livery, was sometimes used with special trains for state officials. Recently, in July 2007, ET41-142 hauled the ‘Venice Simplon Orient Express’ from Wrocław to Wałbrzych. While ET40s and ET42s, based in Bydgoszcz and Zduńska Wola Karsznice, respectively, operated mainly on the Coal Trunk Line, class ET41 has found more widespread use. These locomotives are frequently encountered in southern Poland, as their performance is particularly suited to hauling heavy freight trains on mountain lines, where double-heading elderly ET21s once reigned. The latter are, however, sometimes still used as pushers on steep gradients.
Just as the remaining two types of two-section freighters, ET41 has been used only by PKP (later PKP Cargo) and saw no service with private or industrial operators. According to rosters given in SK and AL, in January 1999 PKP had 167 locomotives of this type; their number fell to 163 in 2004 and 161 in 2007. In early 2019 PKP Cargo had 147 examples (data from www.ilostan.forumkolejowe.pl). Despite appearance of powerful single-section freight locomotives, they are expected to enjoy a long service life. In early 2009 classes ET40 and ET42 were withdrawn to reserve, so ET41 remained the only two-section locomotive in use with PKP Cargo; class ET42 was restored in service in 2012. In April 2010 ET41s made first runs with 4000-tonne drafts (fifty four-axle class Ea coal cars) between Tarnowskie Góry and Gdańsk. Between 2016 and 2020 over fifty locomotives of this type underwent minor modernizations during scheduled overhauls. These included fitting modified headlights, rearrangement of cabin windows array and improved cabin equipment with air conditioning. Currently (May 2022), according to SK, 52 such locomotives remain in service with PKP Cargo. Further 66 are awaiting overhauls, but the decision to carry on has not yet been made.
Main technical data
1) Multiplied in each section.
References and acknowledgments
- SK (various issues);
- www.kolejowaklatka.org (website by Marek Dąbrowski);