From New Construction to Enduring Classic -
The class E 10 (starting in 1953) and class E10.1 (starting in 1956) electric locomotives placed into service by the new German Federal Railroad quickly proved to be extremely multifaceted and highly reliable new locomotives. However, from 1963 on there was a desire to increase express train speeds to 160 km/h / 100 mph. The two early classes of E 10 locomotives were designed for a maximum speed of 130 and 150 km/h / 81 and 94 mph, which was not enough. The class E 10.3 was therefore developed. Its design borrowed heavily from proven components, but it was equipped with a more aerodynamic body with typical "pants crease" ends, buffers in streamlined housings, and continuous skirting at the ends for the buffer beams. This was in addition to higher gear ratios and improvements to the running gear. One other characteristic feature of these locomotives was the continuous vent grills along the sides of the units, which together with a cobalt blue paint scheme gave these locomotives a dignified, elegant appearance. From 1963/64 on the E 10.3 in this form was the preferred motive power for express train consists in important long distance service on electrified routes. As the latest locomotives in the German Federal Railroad's motive power roster, they also pulled trains such as the legendary "Rheingold", and they were even painted in a color scheme to go with the look of the cars.
The units still in use today have proven themselves with their high percentage of time available for service and their extremely durable construction. The experience gathered from this class was used as a basis for the design of the still more powerful class E 03 electric express locomotives.
Many of the class E 10.3 locomotives are still in service today, although no longer with their original class designation. And yet, the constantly updated E 10.3 is still consistently first choice for important work in passenger service.