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Deutsche Bahn use a fairly reasonable and systematic numbering scheme for designating their locomotives. Numbers are of the form xxx yyy-z, where xxx is the Baureihe (Class) and yyy the serial number. z is a checksum.

The three-digit class numbers work like this:

  • 0xx -- steam locomotives
    • 01x and 02x -- tender engines for express passenger trains
    • 02x and 03x -- tender engines for passenger trains
    • 04x and 05x -- tender engines for freight trains
    • 06x and 07x -- tank engines for passenger trains
    • 08x and 091 through 096 -- tank engines for freight trains and shunting
    • 097 -- rack locomotives
    • 098 -- old locomotives for local trains
    • 099 -- narrow-gauge locomotives
  • 1xx -- electric locomotives
    • 10x and 11x -- passenger service
    • 12x and 13x -- universal locomotives
    • 14x and 15x -- freight service
    • 16x -- electric shunters
    • 17x -- locomotives incompatible with 15 kV / 16-2/3 Hz AC
    • 18x -- multisystem locomotives
  • 2xx -- diesel locomotives
    • 20x through 28x -- road diesels
    • 29x -- diesel shunters
  • 3xx -- small shunters
    • 31x -- power class I (up to 29.4 kW)
    • 32x -- power class II (29.4 - 110.3 kW)
    • 33x -- power class III (110.3 kW - 480 kW)
    • 38x -- battery-powered
  • 4xx -- EMUs
    • 40x -- high speed
    • 42x -- commuter AC
    • 47x and 48x -- commuter DC
  • 5xx -- battery-powered EMUs
  • 6xx -- DMUs
    • 60x and 61x -- long-distance
    • 62x through 69x -- short-distance
  • 7xx -- service and maintenance vehicles and rail buses
    • 70x through 78x -- service and maintenance
    • 79x -- rail buses
  • 8xx -- motorless EMU trailers
  • 9xx -- motorless trailers for DMUs and 7xx-series vehicles

The second and third digit for 8xx and 9xx trailers are always the same as on the corresponding 4xx, 5xx, 6xx or 7xx MU.

The three-digit serial number is 001 for the first vehicle in a series. Vehicles of the same physical class may be classified under two different classes because, obviously, the serial numbers only allow for a maximum of 999 vehicles per class.

To obtain the checksum that goes after the dash:

  1. Replace the second, fourth and sixth digit in the number with the doubled digit; i.e. 110 184 becomes 120 288 and 111 049 becomes 121 0418
  2. Compute the sideways sum, i.e. 21 for 100 184 and 17 for 121 0418
  3. Subtract the last digit of this result from 10 unless it's 0; thus, the complete numbers are 110 184-9 and 111 049-3.

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