Electric locomotive E 69 02

Pioneering the use of alternating current


The single-phase alternating current system

Only five of these class E 69 locomotives were built for the Munich-based privately owned railway company LAG (Lokalbahn Aktien-Gesellschaft). Nevertheless, the locomotives were pioneers for the single-phase alternating current system still used today in Germany and on many railways across Europe.

From direct current to alternating current

The first electric locomotives operated with high-amperage direct current power supplies – a system that was relatively straightforward to implement. However, direct current had the drawback that it was difficult to transmit power over long distances. With alternating current, higher voltages meant this problem could be avoided. In 1904, the LAG therefore chose 5.5 kV, 16 Hz single-phase alternating current for the electrification of its 24-km-long Murnau–Oberammergau line. It ordered the E 69 locomotives to operate this route.

In regular service until 1997

The ground-breaking system was a roaring success. The locomotives performed so well that they continued to operate until 1954, when the line switched to Deutsche Bundesbahn's 15 kV 16 2/3 Hz electrification system that had by then become the German standard. Even this was not the end for the E 69s. After having their electrical equipment modified for the new voltage, the locomotives were in regular service until 1997. E 69 03 is still in use today at the DB Museum in Koblenz as a working museum locomotive.


Vehicle Hall I

Technische Daten

Krauss/Siemens-Schuckertwerke (SSW)
50 km/h
416 HP/306 kW
7,350 mm

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