T16611 + T15691 + T15692 – Class CC 6500 Electric Locomotive and "TEE CAPITOLE" Car Set
The SNCF purchased the class CC 6500 between 1969 and 1975 as a universal locomotive for its DC network in three production groups (CC 6501-38, 6539-59, and 6560-74) that differed from each other markedly in the version for the side ventilation bands. Four other units were done in a dual-system version as road numbers BB 21001 and 21002 (1969) as well as BB 21003 and 21004 (1974) that were converted back however in 1995/96 to DC locomotives CC 6575-6578. All of the locomotives have the typical SNCF look for the year in question that had been designed by the designer Paul Arzens as artistic advisor to the SNCF. When designing the end parts of the locomotives, he had in mind the silhouette of a racing sprinter with the body leaning forward and the legs bent. This was how the so-called "nez cassé" (= broken nose) was born – a zigzag type of shape at the end of the locomotive as seen from the sides.
In accordance with the SNCF usage, the CC 6500 units were designed as "monomoteur" locomotives. Each of the two three-axle trucks had only a single self-cooled DC traction motor, the type TTB 665 A1 that powered all of the wheel sets by means of gearboxes and cardan shaft drives. The locomotive body rested on four rubber spring elements consisting of layers of rubber with steel layers between them. The gearbox had two settings: "V" for "Vitesse" or speed (maximum speed = 220 km/h / 138 mph) and "M" for "Marchandies" or freight for freight trains (maximum speed = 100 km/h / 63 mph) with clearly increased pulling power.
At the beginning of their prestigious career, the CC 6500 units pulled France's most important trains such as the TEE trains "Capitole", "Le Mistral", or "l´Aquitaine". The "Capitole" was upgraded on September 27, 1970 to a domestic TEE train with new 1st class cars of the type Grand Confort (compartment cars, open seating cars, dining cars, bar cars, and half baggage cars with a generator). The locomotives and cars were resplendent in metallic gray paint scheme with a red window band as well as orange accompanying stripes, and the CC 6500 locomotives had an engraved panel at both ends with the lettering "Capitole". These locomotives could also be found at the head of heavy freight trains due to their high pulling power. With the introduction of the TGV service and the placing into service of newer locomotives the CC 6500 units gradually transferred to regional service, and on July 5, 2007, the last units were withdrawn from service.