When they were delivered, the Ae 4/7 were used for fast trains all over Switzerland. Starting in 1930, they also ran the fast trains on the Gotthardbahn. Being universally usable, they could be seen in operation everywhere.
In the 1940s, they were partially replaced by the Re 4/4 I on flat lines. At the end of the 1950s, the prestigious services on the Gotthard line were more and more run by Ae 6/6. In 1960, four Ae 4/7 (10948–10951) got a wider pantograph compatible to ÖBB standards, so that they could run international trains from St. Margrethen via Bregenz to Lindau.
At the end of the 1960s, their fast train duties were taken over by the new Re 4/4 II. Some being equipped with multiple-unit train control, they could now be used for heavy freight trains.
Ae 4/7 that could not be run in multiple mostly ran commuter trains and light freight trains. In 1993, 66 years after their first delivery, they were still used for commuter trains mostly in eastern Switzerland, and in front of a few light freight trains. With the prospect of staying in use over the millennium, they even got new UIC numbers Ae 497 000 – 497 027 and 497 901 – 497 999.
The first Ae 4/7 was withdrawn due to its bad condition in 1983. In 1990, 100 of the originally delivered 127 were still in operation. On January 1, 1995, 72 locomotives remained. The actual withdrawal started 1995, which was slightly surprising, since a few years earlier the SBB stated that they will stay in use until after the year 2000. However, due to the delivery of the new Re 460 the SBB had more locomotives than needed, which made the Ae 4/7 superfluous.
One year later most were retired and many scrapped. The last regular train run by an Ae 4/7 for the Swiss Federal Railways was a freight train in 1996. The Ae 4/7 were used by the SBB from 1927 to 1996, in total 69 years. This is only exceeded by their predecessors, the Ae 3/6 I, which were in use from 1921 to 1994, in total 73 years.
Read more about this topic: SBB-CFF-FFS Ae 4/7
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“Plot, rules, nor even poetry, are not half so great beauties in tragedy or comedy as a just imitation of nature, of character, of the passions and their operations in diversified situations.”
—Horace Walpole (17171797)
“A sociosphere of contact, control, persuasion and dissuasion, of exhibitions of inhibitions in massive or homeopathic doses...: this is obscenity. All structures turned inside out and exhibited, all operations rendered visible. In America this goes all the way from the bewildering network of aerial telephone and electric wires ... to the concrete multiplication of all the bodily functions in the home, the litany of ingredients on the tiniest can of food, the exhibition of income or IQ.”
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“You cant have operations without screams. Pain and the knifetheyre inseparable.”
—Jean Scott Rogers. Robert Day. Mr. Blount (Frank Pettingell)