ET 420 - Powered Rail Cars with a Cult Status.
The era of the ET 420 powered rail car train began in Munich in 1972 with the introduction of the S-Bahn service at the same time that the Olympic Games were taking place. In the period following this, the use of this proven, three-part design (whose middle car was designated as the class 421) was expanded to other S-Bahn networks such as Frankfurt and Stuttgart. These were modern, fast units at that time. They were to play a significant role in commuter service and made it easier for millions of commuters to get to work faster. One unit offers space for 448 passengers, of which 194 had to be content with standing room. There is no passage way between the three cars constructed of aluminum, and an ET 420 has two electrical layouts independent of each other, hence two main relays, two transformers, etc. Each car has two power trucks, i.e. all 12 axles on a train are driven by means of nose-suspended, single-axle traction motors. The 67.40 meter / 221 foot 1-9/16 inch long train has an hourly rating of 2,400 kilowatts / 3,218 horsepower and reaches a maximum speed of 120 km/h / 75 mph. The ET 420 can be separated and coupled quickly and easily by means of the Scharffenberg coupler at the ends of the trains. Up to three coupled units are run in S-Bahn service and they enable the flexible use of a powered rail car train configured in this way. The large number of doors, 24 per unit, allows fast boarding and disembarking of passengers and enables short dwell times in stations. Over time, the second pantograph has been removed and on some S-Bahn networks 1st class has been eliminated to increase capacity. The ET 420 was bought in 8 production groups, which naturally differ from one another and which have different paint schemes. The Munich trains originally had a blue window band; the well-known orange / light gray paint scheme quickly spread everywhere. Today, the trains are all in the "traffic red" scheme customary for commuter service. The ET 420 opened up a new, successful chapter in commuter service in the urban areas; for many people it simply is the S-Bahn! And although it was still partially in service, one unit has already been transferred to the Nürnberg Transportation Museum to remain preserved for future generations.