Express Train Star of Striking Elegance. The German State Railroad Company (DRG) awarded a contract to AEG as early as 1933 to develop a powerful locomotive for heavy express train service. The design for these locomotives, which were placed into service as the E 18 starting in 1935, borrowed heavily from the technology used for the predecessor classes E 04 and E 17, since good results had been gathered with these units. However, new paths were blazed with the technology for the frame and running gear, in that proven elements were combined with progressive new developments. This resulted in noticeable improvements in the running characteristics. Moreover, these locomotives were provided with a particularly elegant shape with characteristically rounded engineer's cabs. The E 18 was impressive in terms of form as well as power output. Undoubtedly, they are still among the stars of German locomotive design. The E 18 was the most powerful single-frame locomotive in the world, when it was awarded the highest accolade of the Grand Prix at the Paris World Fair in 1937. These elegant "race horses" could also shine in terms of durability and reliability: The last units (then designated as the class 118) were not retired by the DB until 1984.