ES64U2 100 going back to its roots? This former member of the Dispolok fleet was purchased by Hupac in 2000.
3 silver machines
The history of silver painted ES64U2 type locomotives starts in 2000, with the very first machine of this type not being built for the OBB. In September that year the Siemens factories in Munchen Allach deliver a locomotive with service number 1116 901. Together with 1116 902 and 903 it will be available for hire or leasing to quickly growing number of private rail operators, that can not afford to invest in such expensive machines yet, or to operators that just need modern tractive power for only a short period of time. Siemens decides to built a few extra ES64U2 and ES64F machines, at that moment being built in large numbers for different customers, as a basis for a pool for its new leasing activities. Siemens Dispolok GmbH is founded as a independent subsidiary to manage the locomotive pool.
Hupac SA, one of the leading rail transport providers of intermodal traffic through the Swiss Alps, was one of the first customers for Siemens’ new pool and managed to get its locomotive painted in its own corporate colours (1116 902 and 903 got a Dispolok look in yellow and silver). It proved to be a good choice as already three months after delivery Hupac decided to buy the locomotive from Dispolok.
In June 2001 Siemens delivers two new locomotives to Hupac numbered ES 64 U2 – 101 and 102.
In 2002 all three machines were retrofitted for services in Switzerland by applying the Swiss safety/signalling systems ZUB/Integra and pantographs with smaller contacts (1450 mm) required to run trough the numerous Swiss tunnels. During trial runs in Austria the magnets of Swiss Integra system caused interference with the Austria signalling systems. ES64U2 102 was the first machine to get the Swiss package and full approval for Switzerland, but at the same time lost its homologation for Austria. The other machines followed within months. During its retrofit, 1116 901 (already renumbered to ES64U2 901 in 2001) got a new service number: ES64U2 100.
All three machines are used for many different services in Germany and Switzerland, not only hauling Hupac convoys, but also for Hupac partners and other open access operators that need tractive power for a certain period.
For the near future, retrofitting ES64U2 100-102 with new Integra magnets that can be switched of is considered, making services in Austria possible again.
ES64U2 101 got its first main overhaul in the DB workshops of Dessau in 2007. Looks remained the same.