A wooden model at Innotrans 2004 made rumours tangible!
The very first signals that the OBB was trying to alter the original Taurus order became public in October 2003. Under project name ‘1017’ one was exploring the possibilities of building a Taurus locomotive with additional components making it possible to run under 3kV DC voltage systems, as used in Italy.
In March 2004 it becomes clear that the new machines will resemble the original Taurus machines as much as possible. Sharing many parts with the 1016/1116 series is more economic for the OBB, and easier for Siemens as several deals with sub contractors did not have to be changed again. At the same time, the new machines would be fit in the Taurus identity nicely. From a distance it is not so easy to distinguish the 1216, which is the final designation for the new generation of Taurus locomotives, from the 1016/1116 series.
From June to August 2004 the first pictures appear of a 1216 body in steel. It already reveals several changes. The new machines has two fully fledged cabs with two entrance doors. European safety demands require this. The side-panels of a machine are smooth again, and every cab has a third head-light above the cabin windows. Also remarkable is that for the new locomotive the number of parts built out of glass-fibre-reinforced plastics (GFK) is reduced again. More steel increases the strength of the cab of course, improving driver safety. But Siemens was at that time also experiencing difficulties with the GFK roof tops of the 1016/1116 series, proving to be less durable as predicted.
In September 2004 the first complete body transported to Leipzig to the KIROW company for extensive fatique tests. In the meantime also the construction of a second loco was started.
At Innotrans 2004, international railway fair in Berlin, Siemens presents its new 1216 series concept, with a wooden model in scale 1:20 and 1:1 mock-up of the driver table.
In November 2004, construction of the third prototype starts.
At the end of 2004 the production plan for project ‘1017’ is revealed. There will be three prototypes, first dynamic trials are planned for May 2005. Series delivery is scheduled for 2006 and 2007. Until first machines are handed over to the OBB, Siemens disposes 4 Dispolok ES64F4 engines to OBB. (in 2005-2007 Dispolok ES64F4 006, 008-010 ran for the OBB).
In March 2005, the first completed machine is spotted outside the Siemens factories in Munchen-Allach. On 31.03.2005 the 1216 is officially presented, the 1216 001 outside and the 1216 003 inside the factories, both carrying the slogan ´part of the best´. 1216 002 was not finished at that moment. All three prototypes have a different configuration and will be used for trials all over Europe in the upcoming months. The 1216 001 (version A for D-A-CH-I, 3 pantographs) will go to Italy. 1216 002 (version C for D-A-SK-CZ, 4 pantographs) will be used for test runs at the Siemens Wildenrath centre and 1216 003 (Version B for D-A-SL, 3 pantographs) is reserved for technical running tests.