Traction vehicle

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French multiple unit type SNCF Z 11500 in Strasbourg

A traction vehicle , abbreviated to Tfz , is a powered railway vehicle that is used to transport trains . It does not matter whether it only transports itself or other vehicles .

Colloquially, a locomotive is often referred to as a locomotive . However, the locomotive is only a certain form of a locomotive. As a rule, locomotives are divided into three categories, which have further sub-categories:

  • Locomotives ; these are powered vehicles that can neither pick up goods nor passengers. Today's vehicles are for the most part either electrically powered with an external power supply or by means of an internal combustion engine ( combustion locomotive , today almost exclusively with diesel , previously also with benzene and gasoline ); Steam locomotives were used earlier and to a small extent still today. In addition, there are other special forms such as compressed air locomotives , soda locomotives , gas turbine locomotives and a gyro locomotive (flywheel storage locomotive ). Locomotives are further divided into
    • Mainline locomotives that move trains over a route - i.e. between different train stations;
    • Shunting locomotives, which are usually only used for journeys within train stations and therefore have a low maximum speed and do not have to be equipped with train protection. With the restructuring of the delivery of goods, however, the boundary between shunting and mainline locomotives has become more and more blurred.
  • Power end ; Basically, the powered end car is a special type of locomotive that can only be used at the head and at the end of a multiple unit. The power car is closely coupled with the intermediate car.
  • Railcars ; these are powered vehicles that can even hold travelers, luggage and goods. The drive can be analogous to the locomotives of various types. An operationally permanently coupled or articulated unit made up of several vehicles or box elements is called a multiple unit . A multiple unit can consist of combinations of power cars (see above) and non-powered intermediate cars (e.g. ICE 1 ) as well as trains with distributed drives (e.g. ICE 3 ). It can only be separated in a workshop. If several multiple units or multiple units are connected to one another, a multiple unit is created (e.g. two ICE-3 sets in double traction). This can be operationally separated.
  • Self-driving special vehicles for railway operations can fall under the category of locomotives, but do not have to. This depends heavily on the design and purpose as well as on the railway administration. In Germany , however, these do not count as traction vehicles, but as ancillary vehicles with a motor . In Switzerland they are referred to as self-driving company cars and construction machines. These include construction vehicles, such as draisines , motor vehicles, track construction machines , tower cars for overhead line work, track and tunnel measuring vehicles as well as self-propelled road-rail vehicles .

Web links

Wiktionary: traction vehicle  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  • Jürgen Janicki, Horst Reinhard, Michael Rüffer: Rail vehicle technology. 3rd, revised and expanded edition. Bahn-Fachverlag, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-943214-07-9 , p. 23.

Individual evidence

  1. According to Section 3.2 “Explanation of terms” of the Swiss Driving Service Regulations, R 300.1, “self-driving vehicles such as track-laying machines, rail / road vehicles” also belong to the locomotives. See Swiss Driving Regulations (FDV) A2016 Federal Office of Transport (FOT), July 1, 2016 (PDF; 3 MB)