Crocodile electric locomotives
are so called because they have long "noses" at each end, reminiscent of the snout of a crocodile
(see also Steeplecab
). These contain the motors and drive axles, and are connected by an articulated center section. The center section usually contains the crew compartments, pantograph
The name was first applied to Swiss
locomotives. Sometimes the term is applied to locomotives in other countries of a similar design.
The original "Crocodiles" were the series SBB Ce 6/8 II
and SBB Ce 6/8 III
locomotives of the SBB, Swiss Federal Railways
, built between 1919 and 1927. These locomotives were developed for pulling heavy goods trains on the steep tracks of the Gotthardbahn
, including the Gotthard Tunnel
The electric motors available at the time were large and had to be body-mounted, but flexibility was required to negotiate the tight curves on the Alpine routes and tunnels. An articulated design, with two powered nose units bridged with a pivoting center section containing cabs and the heavy transformer, met both requirements and gave excellent visibility from driving cabs mounted safely away from any collision. These locomotives, sometimes called the 'Swiss Crocodile' or 'SBB Crocodile', were highly successful and served until the 1980s. Several are still in operation as preserved historical locomotives.
Very similar locomotives were used in Austria as Austrian Federal......