These four machines were taken from the ongoing production of 1216 series locomotives in Linz and delivered in the last month of 2007 to the Vogtlandbahnen, subsidiary of Arriva. Together with 11 EuroRunner diesel-electrics, leased from Angel Trains, they secure passenger services in Southern Germany, from Munchen to Oberstdorf and Lindau, from Munchen to Regensburg, and from Furth-im-Wald to Hof. Arriva was awarded with this 10-year-contract for these relations back in 2005. Brand name for the network is ‘Alex’, an abbreviation of Arriva-Länderbahn-Express. Arriva started regular services in December 2007, taking over from the Länderbahn and SBB GmbH combination, which already exploited the same relations under the product name Allgau Express, also ‘Alex’ in short.
The four E183 series locomotives are used for the Munchen-Regensburg service. Like all other new or refurbished ‘Alex’ stock, they are painted in a distinctive turquoise livery, in combination with white and yellow. The designation ‘183’ is a logical choice as its two-tension predecessors are known as 182 series in the German numbering system.
The new ‘Alex’ trains have become a popular subject for railway photographers, as passenger trains hauled by locomotives slowly turn into a curiosity, as the majority of the operators nowadays choose for train sets to exploit renewed services. The ‘Alex’ is also appreciated by the real railway travelling purists. Refurbished, but classic coaches, still with compartments in the first class, and even a fully fledged bar, nicknamed ‘alex-treff’, on board.
The four E183s came from the same production line as the OBB 1216 series locomotives in Linz.