In 1996/97, SBB had purchased ten units of class Re 465 in cooperation with BLS, who had an option on taking over these locomotives and now exercised it; for this reason, SBB Cargo needed new locomotives.
The DB class 185 from Bombardier was for the above reasons best suited for SBB Cargo's requirements. One Re 482 locomotive costs CHF 4.5 million (EUR 3 million), that is about CHF 3 million less than the Re 465 it replaces, and its top speed of 140 km/h is fully sufficient for freight traffic. With its modified software, the Re 482 locomotives are rated for a continuous power output of 5600 kW (still less than the Re 465, though); the DB Cargo class 185 is only rated for 4200 kW like the class 145 it is derived from, but DB Cargo may yet make use of the option to increase the power output of the 185s with the modified software too.
The Re 482 locomotives are equipped with all safety and cab signalling systems required for operation in Switzerland and Germany, as SBB Cargo intends to use this class mainly for international operation between these two countries. Their capability to work both under 15 kV AC @ 16.7 Hz and 25 kV AC @ 50 Hz would also enable them to operate into the French AC network, but at least at present SBB Cargo has no plans yet to make use of this option.
Meanwhile, BLS Cargo has also ordered ten locomotives of the same type, which will be called Re 485 in their fleet.
On 14 June 2002, SBB Cargo presented its complete new fleet of all ten Re 482 locomotives to the press at Limmattal freight yard near Zürich. The picture was taken the evening before the official presentation, showing nine of the ten new electrics already assembled together.
Digital photo by Lukas Witschi
Text by Sven Manias