T16025 – Class 120 Electric Locomotive, "Christmas" Art Locomotive
Three-phase asynchronous motors with step-less control were used for the first time worldwide on electric standard gauge locomotives with the five pre-production class 120 locomotives delivered in 1979/80. For a long time the advantages of three-phase motors were up against unsolvable difficulties. The three-phase motor could not be made flexible and thereby useful for practical operations until the advent of electronic switching and control technology. Externally the prototypes were impressive with their length of 19,200 mm / 62 feet 11-7/8 inches that made them come close to the classes 103, 150, and 151. Where they differed was in the use of only two-axle trucks that were completely new designs. A BBC hollow shaft universal joint shaft drive was used to transmit power. The main frame and a lightweight locomotive body formed a self-supporting design.
Between 1987 and 1989 regular production locomotives with the road numbers 120 101-160 were built by AEG, BBC, Siemens, Krauss-Maffei, Krupp, and Henschel with numerous improvements such as time- multiplex shuttle train and double motive power lash-up control, reinforced line brakes, additional electro-pneumatic brakes as well as automatic running and brake control with wheel slip protection. Insufficient pressure levels for use on the new construction routes as well as difficulties with the electronics required additional work and delayed placing the units into operation.
The pre-production locomotives have been history since 2011 Geschichte, and the regular production locomotives were also cut back. At the beginning of 2005 road numbers 120 153 and 160 went to the DB System Technology as road numbers 120 501 and 502 to serve as test and measurement locomotives. In 2007, five units (120 116, 129, 107, 128, and 121) and in 2010 three other units (120 131, 139, and 117) were equipped with a commuter package (train destination display, train dispatching system, server, etc.). They were designated as road numbers 120 201-208 and were handed over to DB Regio.
As early as the mid-Nineties the DB recognized the value of locomotives as advertising mediums, and the class 120 with its smooth locomotive body was particularly suited for this purpose. On November 15, 1996, the DB presented the first advertising locomotive in conjunction with Märklin. Mostly blue-white Christmas motifs were applied to it. Unfortunately, this first "art locomotive" only ran until January 8, 1997, and the overlays were then removed again. However, in the period that followed Märklin provided "art locomotives" with longer lives for a lot of variety in the mostly rather monotone DB railroad world.