In ac-supplied traction systems (e.g., 15 kV, 16.7 Hz), the energy supplied by a conventional transformer results in large volume, high weight, and relatively low efficiency. In this paper, an ac-dc multilevel converter is presented that allows the use of a medium-frequency transformer in the input section of a traction drive. The proposed solution seems particularly well adapted to the different requirements (volume, weight, EMC, losses) of the electric traction domain. The system is studied from a theoretical point of view, starting from the basic module up to the entire converter structure. Simulation results and reduced-scale (10-kVA four-stage converter) experimental results are presented.