Locomotives - Elektrolokomotive Re 6/6

The Re 620, Re 6/6 in the old numbering scheme, are six-axle, electric locomotives of the SBB, which were acquired as a replacement for the
Ae 6/6 for heavy services on the Gotthardbahn. They are the most modern of the so-called "Gotthard locomotives".
The Re 6/6 is the backbone of the SBB CARGO (freight division) and is the most common locomotive - coupled with its smaller cousins of the Re 4/4 II & III family forming so-called Re 10/10 units - on the Swiss main North-South rail artery.  So if you want a true Swiss feel to your layout, you cannot go without a couple or more Re 6/6s, especially if you already own some of our Re 4/4 II and IIIs

It takes something to step into the shoes of a famous predecessor.

The Re 6/6 was built to relieve the venerable Ae 6/6 and not only relieve; it was intended to surpass it in all parameters. To achieve this the SBB from start intended the new locomotive to be a veritable powerhouse. The initial target was 10.000+ horse power, at that time only rivalled by one other locomotive: the Deutsche Bundesbahn E103 also a C0-C0 locomotive.

To obtain the necessary tractive effort, a construction comprising six driven axles was necessary - the Ae 6/6 had shown that this was the way to go, if you intended to negotiate the 26‰ gradients of the Gotthard at speed.
But the six-axle setup of the Ae 6/6 was also its biggest flaw. Built into two bogies the wheels of the Ae 6/6 were extremely hard on the rail in the sharp curves of the gotthard ramp, earning the old workhorse the not exactly flattering nickname "Schienenmörderer" (track killer). Conversely this also disqualified the DB E103 in case the SBB were to look outside Switzerland for a contender.

The decision of ordering a  B0-B0-B0 unit was the logical consequence when the need was to combine traction with good running characteristics in curves. The middle bogie can move sideways, and the three bogies are connected by elastic cross couplings.

Ultimately the design parameters for the new locomotive were as follows:

Re 6/6 11 682 at Erstfeld

A six axle bogie B0-B0-B0 locomotive for express and freight service alike with

  • A service tractive effort of 6 x 1000 HP at 74 km/h; sustained tractive effort of 6 x 900 PS at 78,5 km/h,

  • A max weight of 120 t, with a 20 t axle weight,

  • An electrical (regenerative) brake capable of application at top speed and bringing 400 t train to full stop on the steep ramps of the Gotthard ramp.

Capable of:

  • Moving 800 t trains at 80 km/h on the steep 26 ‰ ramps of the Gotthard route,

  • Moving 800 t on 6,5 ‰ at 140 km/h placing the locomotive in the R category

  • Continuously going from standstill to the above mentioned speeds and braking without damaging neither running gear nor power pack.

It is interesting to note that the design parameters match the layout of the new Gotthard Basistunnel, which also requires 800 t trains at 140 km/t on a 6,5 ‰ gradient.

In 1969 the SBB ordered four prototypes by the Schweizerischen Lokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik in Winterthur (SLM) and by the Brown Boveri & Co (BBC). SLM were responsible for the mechanical part and BBC dealt with the electrical components. The four units were to be ready for service by fall 1972.
Two of these - 11 601 and 602 - were built with a split locomotive body, alowing the body to make up for its impressive (by SBB standards) length, by way of a hinge which enabled the locomotive body to follow the gradient of the track.
The other two prototypes - 11 603 and 604 - got a softer secondary suspension instead of the joint, which proved to be so reliable in everyday use that all series locomotives were built this way. Nevertheless, the two prototypes with a split body are still in regular operation.

Otherwise the exterior design is similar to the Re 4/4II, as are the driver's controls and the conventional transformer technology with fixed running notches, which was applied for the last time for this locomotive. In contrast to the Re 4/4II, the Re 6/6 has two transformers (one power and one control transformer), which are mounted on the frame between the bogies. Due to the higher roof, the Re 6/6 looks huskier than the Re 4/4 II, especially when seen from the front.

What came out of the prototypes was a 10.600 HP locomotive and at that time - at least in switzerland - this had only been surpassed by the mighty Ae 8/14 11 852 double locomotive. Worldwide it was the strongest six-axle locomotive of is time. Even the afore mentioned DB E103 was beaten with 95 HP. The Re 6/6 kept this status for 35 years.

The maximum tractive effort was 395 kN. The continuous effort at 140 km/h was 270 kN which still left an impressive overhead. This made the locomotive the best suited for service in the Gotthard Basistunnel even if it did not exist at that time. All in all the regular Re 6/6 followed in the best traditions of the Ae 6/6: they were sturdy, reliable and built to last. 

In January 1973 the SBB placed the first order of forty four Re 6/6's numbered 11 605 -649. The next much needed flight of forty units numbered 11 650 - 689 was ordered by October 1975, but it was blocked until april 1976 due to fiscal issues . A planned third flight of twenty units were - to the regret of the Railway Staffers - scrubbed and  replaced by twenty five Re 4/4 II's numbered 11 371 - 397 which incorporated some of the distinct features of the Re 6/6 - especially the built-in rear-view mirrors are noticeable.

The locomotives are named after towns and all bear the relevant wappen (coat of arms) in relief and painted in hi-gloss enamel colours and name in stainless steel.
These are desired objects amongst collectors of railway paraphernalia and very often you see a Re 6/6 with a dark smudge where the wappen and name were supposed to be. This sad fact has led the SBB to omit the old wappen and names on the units repainted in Cargo livery, replacing them with decals.

The last Re 6/6 was delivered to the SBB on December 19th 1980.

The Re 6/6 is equipped with multiple unit train control together with Re 4/4II, Re 4/4III, Re 4/4IV and RBe 540. In passenger traffic they pulled heavy passenger trains over the Gotthard route as an alternative to a double heading of Re 4/4 IIs (nowadays this is very seldom as passenger traffic is almost exclusively handled by Re 4/4 IIIs and Re 460s). In freight traffic they were used all over Switzerland for heavy trains, on the Gotthard route very often together with an Re 4/4II or Re 4/4III. Such a couple, often referred to as "Re 10/10" (both locomotives are Re class, so the couple is Re class; 10/10 means that they overall have 10 driven axles out of 10), is capable of pulling the maximum train weight of 1300 tons on the 26 ‰ gradients of the Gotthard line.
For heavier trains, up to 1600 tons are operationally feasible; an additional bank engine has to help push the train in order not to overload the couplers. This used to be an Ae 6/6, but these days the task is more and more handled by
Re 4/4 IIIs since the venerable Ae 6/6 has been seconded to other areas of operation.

After two locomotives were tentatively equipped with radio remote control for pushing trains on the Gotthard line (such that the locomotive pushing at the end of the train may be controlled by the engineer at the front), about 30 locomotives were equipped with it in 2000. To make them administratively distinguishable, they got the new designation Ref 6/6.

In 1990 Locomotive 11638 was heavily damaged in an accident and subsequenly retired and scrapped. For the renumbering to the UIC-conforming new numbering scheme in 1992, only the still existing locomotives were considered, thus the 11638 got no new number any more. But the renumbering was never done consistently. During 2005, the UIC numbering scheme was re-worked, and 620 001 (instead of 000) was defined to be the smallest number. To make things easy, the scrapped 11638 also got a new number, 620 038. About half a dozen locomotives bore the new numbers at the beginning of 2006.

Due to the division of the SBB-CFF-FFS into SBB Cargo and SBB passenger division, all remaining 88 locomotives were assigned to SBB Cargo. Due to the reassignment of the Re 460 to the passenger division, the Re 6/6 again dominate the freight traffic on the Gotthard line.

The locomotives are assigned to the workshops Erstfeld, Bellinzona and Lausanne (Lausanne: 2000, today unknown), revisions are done at the main workshop at Bellinzona. 

Which locomotives will we offer?

The Re 6/6 has not changed much over the years. Obviously the introduction of different communications and safety devices has added to the overall appearence of the locomotive, but mainly we are looking at details. The most conspicious changes came with the introduction of the "Mercedes" headlights and the platform for shunting staff on the rightside buffer, and during the last five years the introduction of airconditioned cabs, which added a large ventilation grill just behind the driver's position on both cabs.

The first Re 6/6's were SBB green and in the mid eighties, for at least half of the remaining units, SBB red. Presently a number of units are sporting the red and blue SBB Cargo livery.

From the above it would appear that we have widespread options as far as versioning goes. But true to the spirit of protovr we will try to match the everyday look of these locomotives. That means green, red and Cargo liveries alike as well as both shiny clean and grimy versions.
The first releases will be true to the original look of the locomotive i.e. green and with round headlights.  Later on we will release versions matching the present look with Mercedes headlights and full UIC equipment.
The wappen and names will all be in full 3D for the red and green version and in hi-definition textures for the Cargo livieried version. Obviously some names will be a little costly in polys, but it is our firm belief that it is the way of things to come in Trainz.

The number of special liveries for the Re 6/6 is small and we would like offer these to you as well, but we need more photos to able to get for instance the mint green Cargo livery right.

Obviously the locomotives must have cabs, but the question is which cab layout? Initially we will settle for the cab that the locomotives were equipped with twhen they entered service. Later on - when the scripters give the thumbs up - we will go for all the other stuff that have been added to the layout over the years.



On a lovely day in July the sky over Erstfeld reflects off 11 675 "Gelterkinden's" no. 1 cab windows


Built 1972, 1975–1980
Train numbers 11601 – 11689
Train numbers (UIC) Re 620 001
– Ae 620 089
Number built 89
Number in service 88
Purpose Multipurpose
(today: freight)
Workshop Erstfeld, Bellinzona
Decommissioned one unit 1990
Special notes 4 (2 x 2) Prototype locomotives
with different features
Predecessor SBB Ae 6/6
Successor SBB Re 482
Overall length 19310mm
Width 2950mm
Height 3932mm
Weight Prototypes 120t
Technical data
Makers SLM Winterthur
BBC Baden
SAAS Geneva
Wheel arrangement B0'B0'B0'
Max speed 140 km/h
Power 7850 kW
(10600 HP)
Service tractive effort 270 kN
Starting tractive effort 398 kN
Climbing power 800 Ton
with 80 km/h
on a 26 ‰ ramp


The Re 6/6 for Trainz ®

With the Re 6/6 we continue along the standards set by the A 6/6. We intend to continue to provide you with some of the most detailed models for TRS available. Hence the number of polygons is HIGH. Especially the bogies and suspension are tough on the polygon counter, but an over-all aggressive LOD policy will soften the blow to your PC's performance.

As with the Ae 6/6 we know that the protovr concept dictates that "if it is there it is here too" but we still recognise the fact that details disappear at a distance.

The Cab

There are a number of factors that distinguishes the cab layout of the Re 6/6 when compared to its smaller sisters of the later Re 4/4 II and III batches. Especially the integrated rearview mirrors stand out.
At the original driver’s console there was a band tachometre as opposed to the Re 4/4 II and III’s dial and needle type.

The cab of 11 608 equipped with ETCS and a very competent guide and contributor to the project at the controls.

As the picture above clearly demonstrates, the cab has been subject to changes reflecting the development of new equipment and especially the ETSC system has influenced the look of the cab. But if you ask the engineers they will probably say that the air conditioning was the biggest improvement.

In short the model offers:

  • unrivalled details in 3D work,
  • high definition textures,
  • prototypical scripted lighting,
  • prototypical enginespec (hopefully a BRUMMELENGINE as with the Re 4/4 II and III) accurately reflecting the locomotive's specs and
  • prototypical wappen and names
  • super detailed cab with scripted features.

Buying an Re 6/6 pack gives you:

  • Three SBB green locomotives with unique road numbers or
  • Three SBB red locomotives with unique road numbers or
  • Three SBB Cargo locomotives with unique road numbers or
  • One specific locomotive matching three different historical periods
  • Free upgrade service



At present the model is being tested in game (TC3) and the last 3D objects are being finalised. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control we cannot give a release date yet, but we will post it in all relevant fora as soon as we have it.

The above still stands but we can safely add that thanks to Beetsme's efforts at Muttenz II the locomotive body is coming very close to completion and ready for the first of a series of mapping and texture trials - as per usual we have Mr. Texture himself Steffen Gross AKA sg1 making sure that this gem of a model will redefine the leading edge of Trainz modelling.

As seen to the right the cab is well underway and here we have another wizard at work. We will not disclose his identity yet, but suffice to say that he knows what he is doing and his work is widely recognised amongst the payware customers.

When we have something more definitive to offer, we will post it on the forums, but we can say this much: the scripted items will facilitate a wide range of SBB cabs for your driving pleasure.


We will like to stress that this project never would have reached its state of perfection without the contributions of our dedicated group of Swiss field researchers. Especially Patricia_B, Stef89 and Beetsme deserves a big hand for their work providing us with a steady stream of photographs and other gems. Thank you and keep up the good work.
Mr. Bruno Lämmli of Erstfeld deserves a special mention here. His very thorough and competent demonstration of the Re 6/6 cab and its abundance of switches, dials, handles and computer displays is invaluable to the 3D artist and scripter alike.

Do you have a special feature or maybe a favourite locomotive that you feel is missing? Then tell us about it

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