Fourteen years after the official end of regular duties, the main line diagrams of the hugely popular Deutsche Bahn Class 103 electrics have ended. Ben Jones takes a nostalgic last run behind this iconic class and pays homage to these magnificent machines.

The Rhine is just visible as Class 103 No. 103 235, with its rake of Austrian intercity carriages, runs north through Sankt Goar towards Cologne with train IC118 from Innsbruck to Münster on June 22, 2014. The 103 worked the Münster to Stuttgart leg and another of the class was attached for the leg from Stuttgart to Ulm. The summer of 2014 was to be the last for 103 235. PHIL WRIGHT

It is 04.59 on a chilly late-November morning. An early InterCity express to Munich slides out of the vast construction site that is currently Stuttgart’s main station. Heading the train is No. 103 245, an imposing Co-Co electric locomotive carrying the attractive red & ivory ‘Trans Europ Express’ livery of the 1960s/70s. It is one of several ‘103’ Museumloks owned by Deutsche Bahn, two of which are still passed for main line use.

Over the next two and half hours and 240km, the 42-year-old, 9,970hp electric will do exactly what it was built for – running at up to 200kph (125mph) between stops with an InterCity express, delivering early bird commuters to their officeuni works in the Bavarian capital.

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Once the undoubted flagship of West Germany’s Deutsche Bundesbahn, the class lost all of its regular diagrammed work in December 2002, although a much-reduced fleet continued in reserve throughout 2003. Since then though, a small number of locomotives have kept the flag flying, much to the delight of enthusiasts in Germany and far beyond.

Read more in January’s issue of The RM

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