Model Railroading — Blog Post #14
ETE_Express_Apr_2017, Brian Hitchcock
I have always thought of the class 103 locomotive as the locomotive that powered the TEE trains. I still remember this locomotive from the cover of the 1966/67 catalog (Photo 1). The feature of this loco that I always remembered was the single row of aluminum ventilator grilles. I have never owned a model of this locomotive since I don’t operate passenger trains very much. When I received my copy of the 6 2016 issue of Marklin Insider Club News, I noticed what I assumed was the same locomotive pictured on the cover, but this loco had two rows of ventilation panels. I assumed this was a newer version of the class 103. I realized I didn’t know much about this locomotive so I decided to check online to see just how much I didn’t know.
Photo 1 — Cover of Marklin 1966/67 catalog showing the class E03 locomotive.
I remembered the locomotive from the 1966/67 catalog and I assumed it was the locomotive that was in use on the German railways for many years after that. Now that a model with more ventilator grilles was being offered, I wondered why the prototype had two versions of this loco. It turns out my assumption was wrong. The model I was familiar with, Marklin 3053, was a model of the prototype of the class E 03. During the development process, the prototype was found to not have enough power so more powerful motors and the transformers to power them were installed in the production locomotives. With more power came the need for more cooling air and more ventilation. Hence the two rows of ventilator grilles, doubling the cooling air of the original prototype.
From Wikipedia I learned that four of the prototype E03 locomotives were built in 1965, followed by the first of the production locomotives, with the distinctive two rows of ventilation panels, in 1970. The German railways numbering system was changed in 1968 at which time the prototype class E03 became the class E103.0, and the production version was designated class E103.1.
Marklin updated their model when the production class 103 locomotives entered service. The 1971 Marklin catalog has item 3054, a model of the class 103.1 production model with the two rows of ventilation grilles (Photo 2). This brings us to the present with Marklin item 39170, their latest model of the class 103. The distinctive curved ends of the locomotive were designed to optimize aerodynamics, but this took away space from the engineer’s compartment. The production series was 145 units, and the last 30 of these were modified to be longer to provide more room for the engineer. Marklin’s latest model reproduces this longer locomotive.
Photo 2 — Marklin New Item 3054 from the 1971 catalog.
There is always more to learn, which part of what makes any hobby interesting is. Now that I know more about the history and development of the class 103, I may have to have one of these models!