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2008: CP 4700 / SNCB 18-19  

customer overview
CP - Portugal - operator
LE 4700 series
25 - 2008-2009
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NMBS/SNCB - Belgium - operator
HLE 18/19 series
120 - 2009-2011
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With the previously described ES64U4-platform, Siemens has developed the ultimate, multi-purpose platform that can cover all commonly used voltage systems and track gauges, which can be equipped with all required train detection and signalling systems, which fits many loading gauges and which can run with speeds up to 230 kph, more than sufficient for all commercial passenger and freight services across Europe.

But why would Siemens introduce yet another standard platform, as the previous one (the first ES64U4 platform machines date back to 2005) is only two years old? In fact, the basis of the EuroSprinter 2007 platform, as Railcolor calls it (this is not an official name!), is not that different from the ES64U4. In has inherited all its modular advantages, constructional principles and electric systems. But as the mean reason for the update however affected the exterior design of the machine in such a fundamental way, one could get the impression that the 2007 platform seems less related the ES64U4 platform products than it really is.

The main reason for the platform update comes from new European requirements, formulated in so called TSI´s (technical specifications for interoperability). The previous EuroSprinter and EuroRunner cab and body designs do not meet these latest standards concerning safety of operating personnel during crashes. For the exact same reason, implementing these specific TSI standards, Bombardier migrated it’s production form Traxx 1 to Traxx 2, including, indeed, a redesigned and reinforced cab and body. Alstom, by the way, declares that its original Prima design was far ahead of these measurements, and still meets currents TSI standards.

When you look at the first representatives of the 2007 platform, another tendency is shown. Already for more then a decade is cost-reduction and important trend in rolling stock product development. This development however inflicts with the development such as 1216 series for the Austrian railways. True, leasing companies which slowly become most important customers for the industry, want flexible, thus modular products that without much fundamental changes can be used every around Europe, but at the same time they do not want to pay for equipment on board of these machines that in practice has no use. Still, when a contract ends, and a new customer has different demands than the previous one, it should be possible to quickly adjust the machine for its new purpose. Modularity therefore needs to serve another purpose than making everything possible all the time, it needs to make everything possible only at the time it is actually serving a purpose.

The Portuguese LE 4700 series clearly show how this principle works in practice. Their duration power is ‘only’ 4600 kW, in stead of the 6400 kW which slowly seemed to become standard for all modern electrics built by Siemens. To be honest, more than 6MW power is pretty overrated when you use your machines solely for freight services. This decision made it possible to down-size the machine electrical equipment, saving money, weight and energy, not important nowadays. The LE 4700 series can only cope with 25 kV voltage systems for now, but all preparations are done to make it possible in the future to rebuilt it is a multi-systems machine, running under 3 kV DC voltage systems too. Same for the bogies, which easily can be refitted for 1435 mm normal gauge, in stead of the 1668 mm which is standard in Portugal right now. You see that the modularity of these machines leave a many options open, but that CP don’t need to invest in them yet, as they do add any value to these machines in the current situation.

Another attempt to downgrading EuroSprinter 3rd generation products can be found in the latest ES64F4 order for MRCE Dispolok. 20 units were equipped for services under 3 kV DC voltage system only. However, these machines are technically still full-fledged four-system electrics. Maybe of interest for the future, but for now these machines have to carry a lot of parts which are unused.

People may want to call the LE4700 series a budget locomotive, as all that is not needed is just taken out. Partially this is true, but on the other hand you see that it is still a good basis for a more customer specific solution, as long as the customer wants to pay for it!

However, already in 2006, Siemens started to realise that downgrading EuroSprinter platform locomotives was not the way to go. That year they started the development of the Vectron program, that in the end has the potential to replace all EuroSprinter products. In stead of downgrading ES 64 U4 or ES 64 F4 units the Vectron is based on the principle of upgrading a very basic configuration with only those packages the customer needs at that moment, plus the ability to change these packages along the life cycle of the machine.


Around 2007-2008, Siemens developed a theoretical base program for its EuroSprinter 3rd generation products. However, in 2010 this was replaced by the Vectron program.
  3 kV 25 kV or 15 kV 15 + 25 kV DC+AC DC+2AC 2DC+AC 2DC+2AC
  5MW 6MW 5MW 6,4MW 5MW 6,4MW                
B 140 kph ES50B1 ES60B1 ES50B1 ES64B1 ES50B2 ES64B2 ES64B2 n.a. n.a. n.a.
F 140/160 kph
ES50F1 ES60F1 ES50F1 ES64F1 ES50F2 ES64F2 ES64F2 ES64F4 ES64F4 ES64F4
U 200/230 kph
ES50U1 ES60U1 n.a. ES64U1 n.a. ES64U2 ES64U2 ES64U4 ES64U4 ES64U4