ETA/ESA 150 Battery-Powered Rail Car
The first class ETA 176 DB battery-powered rail car certainly turned out well, but they did not meet the expectations for an economical powered rail car for branch line service. Thus in 1953/54 the "trimmed-down version" in the form of the ETA 150 came about. It featured a simpler, more rectangular shape to the car body. The high weight of the batteries also stipulated here the design of the car body, which was done with lightweight steel construction. Hollow spaces under the floor provided room for the eleven heavy battery trays. Two self-ventilated DC series wound motors were installed in one of the two München-Kassel design trucks. Power transmission was done by the proven axle-suspended propulsion system. Compared to the class ETA 176, the class ETA 150 went back to standard drawbar and buffer equipment. This had the invaluable advantage that through cars or freight cars could also be included in a train of powered rail cars and the powered rail cars could be coupled to normal train consists with no problem.
Several production runs between 1954 and 1965 thus resulted in 232 powered rail cars (ETA 150, starting in 1968: 515) and 216 control cars (ESA 150, starting in 1968: 815) in operation. They were quickly and affectionately designated as "Battery Blitz" or "Wall Plug IC". Rathgeber, O&K, DWM, and MAN built the units, whereby the different production runs varied in the division of the interior space. The first 33 powered rail cars only had seating for 3rd and later 2nd class, while all other cars offered seating in 1st class in various versions. The performance of the batteries was increased over time from 352 kilowatt hours on the first units to 564 kilowatt hours on the units delivered later (ETA 150.5), which finally enabled a range of up to 500 kilometers / 312.5 miles. Up to six units (three ETA and three ESA 150) could be controlled from one cab with multiple unit control.
Starting in 1982, the DB began to withdraw these units from service. In fact, four battery-powered rail cars were sponsored by the firm Nokia in 1993/94 and the units were given new interiors as well as a paint scheme in the new regional railroad colors. Yet on September 23, 1996, use of the battery-powered rail cars ended with the storage of the last class 515 units. Several cars have been preserved and the Regental Railroad even converted road numbers 515 511 and 523 diesel electric powered rail cars in 1993/94.