1116 200, in a dark red livery, after beating its silver painted opponents
In 2008, the Austrian federal railways, OBB, introduced a new standard in long distance travelling: the RailJet. Taurus locomotives of all types will haul brand new push-and-pull train sets setting new standards on comfort and ambiance. Siemens will built a total of 66 new sets of 7 coaches. First will be ready at the end of August 2007 for test and promotion purposes.
With this plan, the OBB breaks with the general trend in Europe to use (highspeed) trainsets for premium concepts. As there is already a considerable number of high-speed locomotives available, this choice seems to make sense. Railjet services will run on conventional networks, with top speeds up to 200 kph. The Taurus locomotives could boost this top speed up to 230 kph.
With introduction of Railjet, the OBB will also create a new brand, a new identity, already starting in 2007. Design agency Spirit Design was requested to develop the concepts for both interior and exterior design. For the exterior, three different concept were selected, to be experimented with on 1:1 scale! Then the OBB customers was given the opportunity to vote for their favourite, that then would become the basis for the final concept…
choice is yours!
In March 2007 therefore three locomotives were selected at Linz workshops. 1016 034 and 035 were around as they needed a regular service check-up, and 1116 200 was called-in because its promotional livery (Semmering 200) had to be removed. They all got Railjet repaints, each representing a different Spirit design concept. 1016 034 and 035 both got a base base colour, with grey/white and grey/red striping respectively. 1116 200 got a bordeaux-red base colour with grey/red striping. They also got names, Spirit of Salzburg, Spirit of Linz and Spirit of Vienna, probably not a coincidence that these names refer to the creator of their new looks…
1016 034 and 035 were first seen in their new livery on 28.03.2007, 1116 200 five days later. Newspaper Krone opened up a poll at its website where its readers could vote for what they thought was the best design for the future Railjet concept. At 19.05.2007 the final results were published, and the 1116 200 won the competition, although it was a very close call with 1016 035, only having 52 votes more (6.349 vs 6.297 …). The design of 034 came in third. Per April 2007 all three machines were used for regular services by the OBB, promoting the new Railjet name. Additional slogans ‘ab 2008’ were added.
After the design competition the OBB started with preparing a batch of 23 units for its RailJet services; 1116 201-223. All to be repainted, equipped with a third pantograph, the Swiss (ZUB/Integra) and Hungarian (EVM) safety systems and with extra silver painted aerodynamic panels between the bogies. First engine that got the RailJet design was 1116 201, completed in April 2008. This engine served as prototype and was used for the first trials in Austria. 1116 204 was the first to be spotted with the aerodynamic panels, but it was not repainted at that time. It was also the first one seen with a third pantograph.
1116 215 and 205 were number two and three to be repainted. 1116 215 was presented in Graz with a rake of brand new Railjet coaches. The Railjet electrics were the first Taurus machines that got a NVR service number.
In September 2009, the RailJet was presented at Innotrans 2008 in Berlin. 1116 201 ran to Berlin on its own power. By that time the machine was optically a complete Railjet unit, as extra silver painted aerodynamic panels were added in the mean time. Note that on the picture, a third pantograph is still missing.
By the end of October 2008, 1116 203 was the fourth machine to be repainted, and it was the first one with ZUB/Integra and EVM.
On 14.12.2008 first RailJet revenue services started, between Budapest and Vienna. At that moment, 1116 203, 204, 205, 208, 214, 215, 218 and 223 were adjusted and availabe for service.
The refitting of the last locomotive of the batch of 23, 1116 213, was completed in August 2009. By then only the package of prototype 1116 201 still had to be completed.
In 2010, the OBB prepared the second batch of 1116s for RailJet services. This time 20 units are involved: 1116 224 to 243 (including the former ITL units). They did not get the silver covers between the bogies and no additional packages for international services, they will remain normal 1116s for services in Germany and Austria only.