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  • [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    German steam locomotive numbering system

    Author: John Oxlade, Salfords, England (email: )


    The numbering scheme introduced by the DRG was subsequently used by the DB. The DR after the war used a similar idea (but with different numbers). All locomotives in existence at the formation of the DRG were allocated class numbers, but it is doubtful that some of them ever carried them. Many of the smaller or obsolete classes were withdrawn quite soon.

    As far as I know, the DRG always used the full name Deutsche Reichsbahn on the cab side of their locomotives. After about 1941, some locos had a cast metal eagle and swastika fitted, but I believe that they still retained the name in full. The DB also used the full name initially, but later went over to using the metal DB shield - "Keks".

    Just for information, the DRG used the round crest on passenger vehicles and the name Deutsche Reichsbahn on freight vehicles up until about 1941-42, when they started using a printed version of the eagle on coaches, and a simplified DR on goods wagons.

    Later, the DB enhanced the system slightly to aid in keeping track of their stock with computers. This enhanced system is still in use today, and with the introduction of the former DR stock into the same stock lists, the uniformity that the DRG was striving for has now been achieved.

     
    Baureihen (Classes) Type Name English equivalent
    01 to 19 S Schnellzuglokomotiven Express passenger locomotives These are all tender locomotives.
    20 to 39 P Personenzuglokomotiven Passenger locomotives (as opposed to express passenger locomotives)
    40 to 59 G Güterzuglokomotiven Freight locomotives
    60 to 79 Pt PersonenzugTenderlokomotiven Passenger locomotives These are all tank locomotives.
    80 to 96 Gt GüterzugTenderlokomotiven Freight locomotives
    97 Z Zahnradlokomotiven Rack (and pinion) locomotives
    98 L Lokalbahnlokomotiven Branchline locomotives
    99 K Schmalspurlokomotiven
    (Kleinbahnlokomotiven)
    Narrow-gauge locomotives - to be implemented at a later date.
    Additionally, I have put together a 'catch-all' page of experimental, unique and unusual locomotives

     
    Notes: Although the above number ranges were allocated, not all of them were actually used.
    For example, the first 'official' freight locomotive would have been a class 40, but the number was never used.
    The 'actual' first freight locomotive class number was 41.

    A comment on the Reichsbahn (DRG) numbering system: Within the number blocks reserved for the engine type (S,P,G,...) the new standard classes had their own block (the first ten). So, 01 to 10 are standard Express passenger, 11 to 19 are Laenderbahn (state railway) classes. The first two digits of state railway engines denote the wheel arrangement, starting with the 'smallest' type and progressively increasing with the number of wheels. The next 1 or 2 digits denote the class. Old engines that were due for replacement when the numbering system was introduced in 1925 received numbers of XX.70XX and above. That explains why, e.g. class 34 has no numbers below 34.73XX. Other gaps in the numbers are due to the fact that the renumbering plan of 1925 was a revision of a plan of 1923 which in turn was a revision of 1922. Some classes had been withdrawn from service in the meantime.

    Just to make life difficult, in German, a 'Tenderlokomotiven' is not what we'd call it. The English meaning of 'tender' is a serapate vehicle pulled behind the steam locomotive which contains water and coal (or in some cases oil). This has exactly the same meaning in German, but a 'Tenderlokomotiven' is a term used to indicate a locomotive with an integrated tender - a tank locomotive.

    In Germany, what in English is a tender locomotive is frequently called a 'Schlepptender', meaning 'hauled


    [ last updated 1st Jan 2004 ]