Combustion railcars

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
McKeen railcar ,
years of construction 1905–1917
The first functioning diesel railcars in Europe: DET 1 u. 2 of the Royal Saxon State Railways , 1914
De Dion-Bouton Narrow Gauge Rail Bus 1924
Photo of the M 120.206 from Tatras from 1927 after its reconstruction in the Railway Museum Rosice nad Labem (2018)

Railcars and Verbrennungsstriebzüge are railway vehicles with internal combustion engine , which unlike locomotives as railcars accommodate passengers or goods themselves. In the history of these vehicles there were different types of drive and fuel, the current combustion railcars, on the other hand, are operated almost exclusively with diesel fuel. This fact resulted in the designation "diesel multiple unit", which was widespread in Germany, as well as the series identification of German vehicles with the prefix "VT" until the 1960s.



In order to be able to operate routes with little traffic economically, steam railcars began to be built in the middle of the 19th century , whose use was always limited to relatively short routes due to their limited water and coal supplies. More practical solutions arose from the development of internal combustion engines.

The five petrol railcars BW 1–5 of the Royal Württemberg State Railways with mechanical power transmission, built from 1887 to 1900 by the Esslingen machine factory with Daimler engines, can be regarded as the first combustion railcars . Because of their low engine power of 25-30 HP, the railcars were only suitable for light operations. Also because of the gearbox they didn't prove themselves and were replaced by steam railcars after a few years. A sixth structurally identical vehicle was sold to the Swiss Northeast Railway in 1900 and from there to the SBB.

Gasoline-electric railcar of the Hungarian ACsEV from Weitzer Rt. With De Dion-Bouton engine, built from 1903/1906

At the beginning of the 20th century, the first larger series of combustion railcars were developed and built in North America from 1905 and in Europe from 1906. The Weitzer János company from Arad built the Weitzer-De Dion-Bouton railcars for the Aradi és Csanádi Egyesält Vasutak (ACsEV) and other Hungarian railway companies on a trial basis from 1903 and in series from 1906 . The four-cylinder engines came from the French vehicle manufacturer De Dion-Bouton , who had developed the petrol-electric drive used in the railcar as early as 1899/1900 for a passenger car by Henry Pieper . In 1910, the ACsEV owned 41 of these railcars. Additional railcars were built for other Hungarian private railways and in 1907 two for the Romanian State Railways . The American pioneer in the building of motorized railcars was William McKeen, an engineer with the Union Pacific Railroad . With the support of his previous employer, he went into business for himself and began producing streamlined railcars in Omaha in the US state of Nebraska from 1905 , the engines and transmissions of which were derived from ship drives. 152 of these McKeen railcars were built there from 1905 to 1917 and sold to over 40 US and four foreign railroad companies.

Railcar of the Otavi Mining and Railway Company from 1914

On the eve of the First World War , the Royal Saxon State Railways put the world's first two fully functional diesel-electric railcars into service. DET 1 u. 2 . The war interrupted the promising development. Eventually the railcars made it to Switzerland, where they were in service for about twenty years. In 1914, the Otavi Mining and Railway Company in the colony of German South West Africa received a railcar with a DMG engine for a track width of 600 mm, which reached a top speed of 138 km / h.

In the 1920s, branch lines in many countries faced competition from motorized road traffic, which was countered with the use of railcars. After the First World War, AEG and Deutsche Werke Kiel (DWK) began manufacturing internal combustion railcars on the basis of aircraft and ship engines in Germany as part of the armaments conversion in the early 1920s, which were delivered to numerous private railways. The private railways took on a pioneering role in the use of combustion railcars in Germany; the Reichsbahn did not begin to build significant numbers until the 1930s. In France, the railcars of the car manufacturer De Dion-Bouton and Billard , Chatenay et Cie became known in the 1920s, and the rubber-tired Micheline railcars in the early 1930s.

In Austria, the Austro Daimler company, with its lightweight petrol multiple units, endeavored to transfer the construction principles of road vehicle construction to rail vehicle construction. Their Austro-Daimler railcars of the BBÖ series VT 61 , VT 62 and VT 63 had pneumatic tires running in railway wheels, as well as the latter for the first time with a hydraulic transmission developed jointly with Voith . Specially designed narrow-gauge railcars were also delivered to the Salzkammergut-Lokalbahn and the Styrian State Railways. All types were equipped with an 80 hp AD 640 six-cylinder petrol engine. Due to the ultra-lightweight construction and the gasoline engines used, the railcars ultimately proved to be too weak for rail operations and could not prevail. Most of them were withdrawn from circulation before 1939.

In Czechoslovakia, Tatra did pioneering work in the field of internal combustion engine railcars in Koprivnice. Your Tatra tower cars made a valuable contribution to the rationalization of traffic on branch lines.

VT 08 5 built 1952–1954
624 668 in original red paint scheme in Herne, built 1961 / 1964–1968
VT 11.5 of the DB, year of construction 1957
VT 18.16 of the DR,
years of construction 1963 / 1965–1968, in the background 2 VT Stadler RS1
ICE-TD, built since 1999/2001, in Berlin Ostbahnhof
Year of construction 1981: NE 81 of the 1st series of the Südwestdeutsche Verkehrs-AG (SWEG)

Diesel multiple units in Germany

At the beginning of the 1930s, the Wismar rail buses (still powered by gasoline engines) were developed for low-cost passenger transport on branch lines . Initially, 29 two-axle railcars of the VT 135 series (numbers 002-059, with gaps) were purchased from the DRG . They received matching sidecars and were subsequently rebuilt several times. The successor type VT 135 (numbers 061–132) is already reminiscent of the rail buses of the post-war period with its round shape. In addition to the intention to save staff and protect the superstructure with light vehicles, attempts were also made early on to reduce planning and acquisition costs by adopting components from road vehicle construction . The engines from Ford for the Wismar rail buses are an example of this. With the post-war series VT 95 (DB, CFL ) and VT 2.09 (DR), this approach was initially consistently pursued, but with the VT 98 it was partly returned to the "classic" rail vehicle.

After vehicles for local traffic, combustion railcars for long-distance and high-speed traffic were also developed and built. The VT 877 ( Fliegender Hamburger ) was the first diesel express railcar of the Deutsche Reichsbahn and at the same time the first streamlined train in scheduled use. From 1933 it was used to establish the world's fastest train connection between Berlin and Hamburg . However, due to the increasing shortage of diesel oil in the course of the Second World War , this development soon stalled.

After the Second World War, DB and DR as well as the NE railways took on the topic of diesel traction again. Several types of railcars were developed in the Federal Republic of Germany, such as the DB Uerdinger rail bus from 1950 onwards , which in its basic forms VT 95 and VT 98 became a “branch line saver” for many years. In the end, however, these railcars could not prevent the "withdrawal from the area". From 1951 the Esslingen railcar and 1955 the MAN railbus were produced for the NE railways . In 1957 the DR followed with the development of its rail buses of the VT 2.09 series .

The first multiple units, units of one or two multiple units with non-powered intermediate wagons (and / or possibly a control wagon ), were built for the main railways . Spectacular vehicles of the 1950s were the TEE trains of the VT 11.5 series , which were designed for high-quality cross-border traffic. They received a counterpart in the GDR with the VT 18 series . Diesel multiple units for regional traffic on main lines included the DB class 624 and its successor 614, which was originally developed for tilting technology . Towards the end of their period of service they migrated to subordinate services.

In view of the death of the branch line, the Deutsche Bundesbahn could not make up its mind for a long time to buy successors for the rail buses. A start was made in the 1970s with the 13 vehicles of the 627 series , which led to the 628 series, which was purchased in larger numbers . At the end of the 1980s, the 610 series, the first double railcars with curved track-dependent car body control (tilting technology) were ordered. This development culminated in the 200 km / h fast ICE TD multiple units, which, however, turned out to be problematic and are only used today without inclining bends.

In addition to the state-owned railway companies, private railroad companies also bought internal combustion engines. Here, stronger vehicles were often preferred to the Uerdingen railbus because they could pull freight cars, which promised to make the maintenance of freight locomotives superfluous. Since private railways have increasingly started offering traffic on the formerly state network , the number of diesel multiple units and their types has increased significantly.

With a few exceptions, Deutsche Bahn no longer uses locomotive-hauled passenger trains on branch lines.


  • Series of less than 10 cars or trains are only included in exceptional cases.


German small and private railways (until 1945)

Deutsche Reichsbahn Gesellschaft and Deutsche Reichsbahn (until 1945)

Deutsche Reichsbahn (1949–1993)

  • VT 12 , express railcar, built in 1954
  • VT 2.09 , "Ferkeltaxe", built 1957 / 1962–1969
  • VT 18 , express railcar, built 1963 / 1965–1968

German Federal Railroad (1949–1993)

Deutsche Bahn (from 1994)

  • Class 611 , 1996/97, 50 two-part trains with tilting technology (2'B '+ B'2')
  • Series 612 , 1998 ff., 192 two-part trains with tilting technology (2'B '+ B'2')
  • Alstom Coradia LINT (series 620, 622, 623, 640, 648 and 1648)
  • Series 650 , 1996 one-piece railcar with two MAN and 2 Iveco engines (B'B ', two driven axles)
  • ICE TD (with tilting technology), 19 trains (built 20) 1996 ff. (2'Bo '+ Bo'2' + 2'Bo '+ Bo'2')
  • Bombardier Talent , 1996 ff., Series 643 (diesel-mechanical) and 644 (diesel-electric)
  • Siemens Desiro Classic , 1999 ff., Series 642 (B '(2) B')

Small and private railways

Austrian narrow-gauge diesel railcar


Like many railway companies, the Austrian Federal Railroad tried to rationalize operations with motorized multiple units from the 1920s onwards, but it wasn't until the mid-1930s that the first usable diesel multiple units came onto the market. Attempts with mechanical power transmission, gasoline engines and lightweight construction largely failed. Only when the (stable) principles of rail vehicle construction came into use in conjunction with a sufficiently robust diesel engine did motorized multiple units also gain acceptance in Austria.


Since the railway network in Switzerland was electrified faster and more completely than in any other country in the world, rail vehicles with combustion engines remained a marginal phenomenon there. The numbers of Swiss combustion railcars are correspondingly low.

Gear rail car MG Bhm 2/4 of Ferrovia Monte Generoso from 1957



Materfer FIAT 7131, Argentina 1950 ff.


"Redhen", class 300 a. 400 of the South Australian Railways



Bolivia: MAN rail bus from 1977/78 converted into a luxury train in 2010
  • MAN rail buses, 14 multiple units and 14 sidecars, delivered in 1967 and 1977/78 to what was then ENFE
  • second generation of Bolivian rail buses 2004
  • "Third generation", luxury version, conversion car from an old MAN team



  • BDŽ 18 , 30 MAVÁG multiple units, 1967, retired
  • BD® 10 , 25 Siemens Desiro, 2005


Chinese NYJ1 multiple unit train
  • Dongfeng (东风), multiple unit, small train restaurant in the motor vehicle, number?, Built in 1958 by CSR Sifang in Qingdao
  • NC2, 8 diesel-mechanical quadruple multiple units from MAVÁG , built in 1962
  • NYJ1, 11 multiple units, multiple units at both ends, four intermediate cars, Sifang 1998–2001


Danish articulated multiple unit MF ("IC3")
  • Y-tog , four-axle: 76 railcars, 23 intermediate cars and 61 control cars, Uerdingen wagon factory 1965–1984
  • DSB MF , better known as "IC3", three-segment trains, axles (1A) + (A1) + (1A) + (A1), from ABB Scandia 92 for DSB 1989-1998, others for Sweden and Israel


  • VR series Dm3 and Dm4, 24 four-axle vehicles, 1952–1954
  • VR series Dm6 and Dm7 , 212 four-axle model, license replica of the Swedish SJ Y6 - Y8, 1954–1963
  • VR series Dm8 and Dm9, 12 multi-part multiple units, 1964–1966
  • VR class Dm12 , 16 single multiple units from Škoda Vagonka, 2004–2006


"Picasso" tower car X 3800


Series 620 of the Greek OSE

Great Britain

British Rail Class 205 diesel-electric compartment car multiple unit, built 1957–1962
Diesel hydraulic "Turbostar", British Rail Class 170, built since 1998


  • KRD MCDW 300 single multiple unit , mechanical diesel, 1963–1980, Glossing and Schöler GmbH and Ferrostaal
  • KRD MCW 301 single multiple unit, diesel mechanical, 1976-now, Nippon Sharyo and INKA
  • KRD MCW 302 single multiple unit, (class K2-K3), diesel mechanical (repowering to diesel hydraulics from 1995–1999), 1976-now, Nippon Sharyo and INKA



Northern Ireland:

  • NIR 80 , 22 multiple units and several sidecars, since 1974, from BREL

Republic of Ireland:

  • CIÉ 2600 , 66 railcars, 1952–1957, from AEC
  • IE 2700 and 2750, 24 double and two single railcars, since 1998
  • IE 2800 , 10 double railcars, since 2000, from Tōkyū
  • IE 29000 , 29 four-car multiple units, since 2002, from CAF (Spain)
  • IE 22000 , 63 intercity trains of three or six cars, delivery has started, Hyundai + Tōkyū


  • MF / IC3 from Denmark, 10 three-part articulated trains, built 1992–1996



Kihani 5000 railcar, Japan 1929
Kiha 45000 (here part series Kiha 11),
728 copies built 1953–1956
Japanese tilting gear train Kiha 261


South Korea

  • Korail DEC
  • Korail DHC
  • Korail NDC
  • Korail CDC / RDC


An HŽ 7122 from Hrvatske željeznice in the Split train station in spring 2014
  • HŽ 7122 , 34 used Swedish Y1 / YF1, built 1979
  • HŽ 7121 , 46 Yugoslav 712 + 714 trains, built in 1981


  • BR 771 / BR 772 , 30 used DR “piglet taxis”, plus 21 control and 3 trailer cars, delivered from 2000


DR1A in Latvia


  • D1, 14 Soviet. D
  • DRIAM , 12 Soviet DR
  • 620M , 10 PESA railcars, 2009



Dutch class 111 multiple unit ( Plan U ) from 1960




PKP SA 134 in Brzeg


Portuguese Série 0600, manufactured in 1979


  • CFR 77 , 40 four-axle rail buses, built 1935–1942, still in service
  • CFR 78 , 13 single and 4 double four-axle vehicles, built 1939–1954, still in operation
  • CFR 79 , 17 Piglet Taxes, 1960–1977, still in operation
  • CFR 76 , 19 used / renovated DB series 614, built 1972, modernized at Remarul 16 February
  • CFR 96 , 120 Siemens Desiro, 2003
Swedish Y8 railcars


  • SJ Y6 - Y8, 378 four-axle diesel railcars, built 1953–1961
  • SJ Y3 , diesel-hydraulic multiple unit with double-decker multiple units and control cars, 6 trains built 1966/1977
  • SJ Y1 , 100 four-axle diesel multiple units, built 1979–1981
  • SJ Y2 , 20 three-part multiple units with large bellows at the ends of the car, identical to the Danish MF (IC 3), built 1989–1996


  • ŽS 812 , Uerdingen rail buses + license replica, 1955 ff., 9 still in service
  • ŽS 710 , 9 used Swedish Y1s, built by FIAT in 1979
  • ŽS 711 , 12 diesel multiple units from Metrowagonmasch (RU), 2012


  • SŽ 711 , 10 long-distance multiple units, from WMD 1970
  • SŽ 813/814 , 48 railcars + 48 sidecars, FIAT u. TVT, 1973
  • SŽ 713/715 , 23 railcars + 23 control cars, 1983


TER in Madrid

Sri Lanka

Class S 11 of the Sri Lanka Railways
  • SLR S8 , 20 diesel-hydraulic trains, max. 80 km / h, Hitachi-Hyundai 1991
  • SLR S9 , 15 diesel-electric hybrid trains, max. 100 km / h, 1999 ff. From CSR Sifang in Qingdao , China
  • SLR S10 , 15 diesel-electric trains, max. 100 km / h, 2008 from CSR Sifang, China
  • SLR S11 , diesel-electric trains for long-distance transport, built by Integral Coach Factory in Chennai , India since 2011
  • SLR S10 , diesel-electric luxury trains, max. 120 km / h, since 2012 by CSR Sifang, China

South Korea


10 Rotem diesel multiple units, built in 2006


ČSR / ČSSR / Czech Republic and Slovakia

ČSD M 152
ČD 814/914
  • M 120.1 , 10 petrol rail buses, 1927/1928
  • M 120.3 / M 120.4 , 27 petrol tower cars, 1928–1930
  • M 130.2 petrol tower car, 63 petrol tower car, 1933–1937
  • M 131.1 529 diesel multiple units 1948–1956
  • M 152.0 680 diesel multiple units 1973/1975–1982
  • ČSD series 809, 28 diesel two-axle vehicles 1976–1982
  • ČD series 814/914 , close coupled combinations of two-axle vehicles with hydromechanical gearbox, partially low-floor reconstruction (conversion) 2005–2012 from railcars of the ČSD series 810 (formerly ČSD M 152.0) and trailer cars of the series 010:
    • 212 combinations of two diesel railcars and control cars
    • 26 three-way combinations of two diesel multiple units and one intermediate car
  • ZSSK series 813, 44 closely coupled two-person combinations of two-axle vehicles without a low-floor section, hydromechanical diesel railcars and control cars, also reko cars from ČSD M 152.0
  • ČD series 844 , 31 low-floor hydromechanical diesel multiple units of the Link II type from PESA , B'2'B 'with Jakobs bogie , 2011–2013



  • Z 431 (standard gauge) / YZ 661 (narrow gauge), 6 + 9 four-axle vehicles, built by Alsthom in 1975
  • french AMG 500 , 10 standard gauge multiple units, built by CFD in 2008
Hungary: Arpád (right, 1934) and
Bzmot (center, identical to the Czech M 152.0 , 1973/1975 ff.)


United States

USSR / Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

Russian hybrid multiple unit DT1 (ДТ1)
Diesel multiple unit of the series DEL (ДЭЛ)

Multiple units:

Rail buses (Рельсовые Автобусы):

See also


  • Rolf Löttgers: The Uerdingen rail bus. Franckh'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart 1985, ISBN 3-440-05463-2 .
  • Raimo Gareis: German diesel locomotives from yesterday. Krone-Verlag, Leichlingen 2001, ISBN 3-933241-36-7 .
  • Rainer Zschech: Steam and combustion railcars. Transpress, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-344-70766-3 .
  • Horst J. Obermayer: Railcars - battery powered railcars, steam railcars, electric railcars, combustion railcars. Weltbild-Verlag, Augsburg 1994, DNB 945141912 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ C. Guillery: Handbook on motor coaches for railways. Munich / Berlin 1908.
  2. Röll: Encyclopedia of RailwaysElectric Railways , there Section VII. Automobile Railcarsto b) Petrol, benzene or gasoline-electric railcars
  3. Self-Contained Railway Motor Cars and Locomotives , paragraph SELF-CONTAINED RAILWAY CARS 57–59
  4. Henry Pieper's petrol-electric automobile in 1900
  5. ^ Röll: Arader and Csanáder Railways United Joint Stock Company
  6. Railcar from Kiel
  7. Eisenbahn Magazin 9/2012, p. 6 ff.
  8. ^ Profile of the Coche-Motor-Liviano
  9. about CML1, the prototype of the CML ( memento of the original from September 2, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF file; 933 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Klaus Ecker, Torsten Berndt: 1000 Locomotives: History - Classics - Technology , Naumann & Göbel Verlagsgesellschaft, Cologne 2004, ISBN 3-625-10541-1 , p. 27.
  11. Un lujoso ferrobús viaja día por medio a Puerto Quijarro. Bolivian press report on the luxury rail bus (Spanish)
  12. Railways of China - Inter City sets and multiple units ( Memento of the original from February 27, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. Photo of a “pig-trunk” railcar
  14. Railfaneurope, OSE withdrawn classes
  15. Railfaneurope, OSE stock
  16. Railfaneurope, RAI diesel train sets
  17. Breakthrough in Japanes Railways (PDF file; 562 kB)
  18. Kiha 43000 (キ ハ 43000 系), short portrait (Japanese) with photo
  19. Railway Museum in Saitama: Class Kiha 11 ( Memento of the original from September 13, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  20. This type of train Tokubetsu Kyūkō (特別 急 行), or Tokkyū (特急) for short , literally "special express trains" (English. Limited express) are express trains with particularly few stops.
  22. Web ferroviaria: Series 591 (ex 300)
  23. Listado del Material Ferroviario Español: Renfe - Fuera de servicio - 595 (TAF)
  24. Sri Lanka Railways Info Page
  25. ^ Trains of Turkey
  26. trainweb: Colorado Railcar Commuter Car Roster
  27. Rail buses come to the Volgograd Oblast for regular service (in Russian)  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  

Web links

Commons : Gasoline and Benzene Railcars  - Collection of Images, Videos, and Audio Files
Commons : Diesel Railcars  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Rail buses  - collection of images, videos and audio files