Category Archives: SBB

SBB CFF FFS class Ce 6/8 III: Marklin’s new release 88563!

The iconic articulated Swiss loco “Krokodil” has long been associated with Marklin in all their scale models, but the new 88563 is a further development of this Era II loco in technological terms for ‘Z’ collectors following numerous releases of this loco in special editions and other variants since the first 8856 (green paint scheme) serie Be 6/8 in 1979 and the 8852 (brown paint scheme) serie Ce 6/8 in 1983.

For the first time changeover headlamps/trailing lamp in LED. Plus partially new tooling including the incorporation of catenary switch below the hood as it were and the removal of the roof top screw formally used to switch power on the circuit board from track to catenary. Removing the catenary screw from electric locos has been a continuing design function of the new locos just as improved running gear and side rods on the steam engines, it is a good time to get into the Marklin mini-club hobby!

Photo: 88563 (top chassis and bottom hood) and 8856.4 (green loco chassis and its hood showing hole through roof to support catenary screw)

A brief look under the hood between the new release and an older 8856 variant is a new circuit board supporting wires for the LED changeover lights thereby obscuring the motor, as can be seen in the photo the circuit board is solid and does not support engagement with brushes, this new motor is identified on the parts sheet as E279 138. Is this a new generation motor? A quick google search revealed nothing!?! When I have more time I will be taking this one apart and reporting what I find! Note: runs great out of the box!

Photo: Marklin 88563 (top) and 8856.4 (version 4: 2009-2010)

Note: switching to catenary power is achieved by carefully pushing the slider switch on the circuit board, in earlier versions this switch was a slotted head that extended through the roof of electric locos.

Follow-up: The new 88563 reveals a new generation motor! I couldn’t wait to find the time to conveniently take apart 88563 to reveal its workings so first thing this morning I opened it up. On first inspection of the circuit board I missed noticing the black and tan leads soldered to the circuit board which descend through holes in the board to the motor, which sits in a newly designed chassis. As with all 8856 variants the articulated locomotive design is comprised of three parts including mid section containing motor with two worm drives and front and rear driving wheel sets, in this new locomotive the mid section chassis is newly designed and dispenses with circuit board clips as well as any visual access to the motor. The circuit board is further redesigned in function but also appearance with two retaining screws and a much thinner board.

Future repair: Any future repairs to this locomotive will be difficult for any but the more advanced modeler. Due to its thin construction the circuit board will be prone to cracking and replacing the motor will be a skilled operation requiring un-soldering of points on the circuit board. How often are future repairs expected on Marklin Z in general? ZERO in my experience except for the cleaning of gears and motor upgrades of the traditional 3 pole/ 5 pole variety.

Closing: Thru advancements in technology and detailing closer to the prototype Marklin is producing some truly outstanding trains, but more intricate parts and complex wiring schemes could be seen as challenges to overcome on the workbench.

Siding: If you have an SBB Krokodil that runs rough perhaps after cleaning and reassembling it maybe due to the front and back side rods being out of alignment. If the loco runs well in one direction but rough in the other reassemble side rods so they are high on one end and low on the other.

 

Marklin Z: One of the Last Great Collectibles!

Photo: Insider Model 2012: 88010 – BR 001 for DB (no longer available)

Are we collecting or are we acquiring: that is the question. When Marklin Z comes into a collection a bit of railroad history is preserved and a commitment is made by this generation to future generations that hold that Marklin’s history and the greater history of railroading is worth preserving.

Photo: Special Imprint (SMI) 88820: “Swiss Cheese” class Am 4/4 pictured with type Hbis freight car also featuring “Swiss Cheese” paint scheme. (no longer available)

Marklin Z gauge is one of the last great collectibles, it will persevere well into the future, and what has been released thus far since 1972 are limited and rare. Rarity is well liked by collectors of all types, but collecting Marklin mini-club (Z) is truly unique from all other collectibles due to their leadership and innovation in z gauge. There are other companies some small and some large producing z gauge products but Marklin is linked to z gauge by the very fact they invented it in 1972, they continue that history today with innovations including true catenary operation through roof equipped pantographs on their electric locos, realistic working side rods on the steam engines, and numerous diesel loco types including the Russian Ludmillas.

Photo: Export Model for France 2003: 88063 – Reihe 232 TC (no longer available)

Many collected “toys” (only time this word will be used on this blog because railroading is serious business! I’m kidding its loads of fun too!!!) these days are secondary market items from long defunct and beloved companies such as Buddy L from the 20’s. It is exciting to dig around a find some rare item that has not been made for 80-100 years or more, but with Marklin anyone can jump in and start collecting from a company in business since 1859. Buy a mini-club loco today and within a year or two or even a few months it will be out of production and already a collectible. Keeping the condition of your new train pristine is part and parcel to collecting anything, but with Marklin this extends to keeping the box in good condition. Want to run a train on a layout simply select the railroad you want to model and keep the other fine locos and rolling stock on display, displaying is just as much fun as driving those trains.

Photo: Marklin Magazin Edition 88953: BR 74 with lettering and Prussian Blue paint scheme for Marklin Magazin (still in production). Note: 1st locomotive release for the “Marklin Magazin” editions.

For collectors Marklin Z new releases are limited and rare falling into several categories: MHI Releases, Special Imprinted Editions, Export Models, Insider Models, Museum Editions, Marklin Magazine Editions, and general releases. Marklin Handlers Initiative includes releases only available to dealers that subscribe to the MHI program, this subscription includes ordering everything Marklin releases, MHI’s are One Time Series. Export Models are limited to distribution in the given country the release represents thus Swiss Export Models are distributed to Swiss dealers in a One Time Series. Insider Models are available only to Insider Members who maintain year long membership in the insider Club for about $100/ year with many benefits. Museum Editions are car sets inspired by companies with ties to Goppingen, Germany the home of Marklin’s headquarters. Usually housed in a specially printed tin box museum editions include a freight car and sometimes a cast metal truck or van. Marklin Magazin Editions are distributed in the United States by Walthers, these One Time Series freight cars usually depict a new car type, they are always painted Prussian Blue with Marklin Magazin insignia, and sometimes the car designs are inspired by the magazine’s printing production including one car that included a load of reams of printing paper. General Releases are those cars and locos that are announced by Marklin and commonly distributed throughout the world, but aside from the perception of wide distribution these items are still very limited and rare with popular releases selling out fast. Of the categories so described Special Imprints and Export Models are the most difficult to collect with secondary market dealers being the only source for these with the exception of direct purchase from German dealers including those with listings on Ebay.

Photo: Marklin MHI release (2016) 88216: BR 212 (diesel) for DB AG (out of production: still available)

Photo: Marklin regular release (2013) 88998: BR 38 Era III (former Prussian P8) passenger loco with tub style tender (no longer available). Note: BR 38’s have been in the Marklin mini-club program for years including trainsets, but the 88998 was the first generation of this loco type with highly detailed side rods and running equipment. This is one of favorite mini-club locos, it is a real pleasure to watch pulling Prussian coaches its action on the rails is melodic.

Part of the fun of collecting Marklin Z is rarity, this singular aspect of this hobby is underscored by small productions of one time series in multiple categories: Marklin Z the readymade collectible!

 

FR’s Prototypical SBB Pantograph: Installation and Description

The new pantograph for Marklin’s Ae 6/6 electric locomotives is prototypically accurate and replaces the original pantograph with a few modifications. FR of Germany has produced this very interesting and important upgrade part that is better made than the Marklin original plus it looks great! The new FR SBB pantograph is available as part number 41.190.00, each is delivered in a hard plastic case.

A side by side comparison of the Marklin original and the new FR pantograph reveals a larger pantograph with a heavier spring. The solid construction of the FR eliminates the sometimes drift seen in the Marklin pantograph. The Marklin pantograph is a bit generic as well coming in just a few variations in color otherwise the same is used on German and Swiss locos. The FR upgrade will add zip to your locomotives for Swiss railroading with striking silver finish true to the prototype.

FR pantograph on left and Marklin on the right:

Installation gets easier after the first one due to familiarity with the small parts and coordinating the assembly after modifications are made. As discussed in earlier posts assembly includes modifying the shell by removing the original plastic parts on either side of pantograph, I simply pulled them off with my fingers taking care not to damage the wires on the shell’s roof. The heat points for the original parts will provide the holes for the new FR pantograph, but first the 4 silver caps/washers need to placed around these holes, the legs of the new FR pantograph are thus placed through the washers and holes. This step can be a little tricky so take your time and work over a workbench to catch the parts if they go astray. Final step is applying pressure to the pantograph and securing with included screw. At this point the pantograph is attached, but you might notice looseness of the legs and washers of the new part, in this case I applied a very small drop of 5 minute epoxy to each hole on the interior side of shell. *NEVER USE PLASTIC CEMENT ON MARKLIN LOCOS DUE TO MELTING FROM THE SOLVENTS IN THESE CEMENTS, 5 MINUTE EPOXY IS THE ONLY RECOMMENDED GLUE FOR MARKLIN Z.  A pin will ensure a small drop versus too much glue seeping out of shell. Careful with this step, but I recommend it to marry the new parts to the shell in permanent correct orientation!

“Cargo” locomotive pictured with the original Marklin pantograph and roof equipment and Ae 6/6 locomotive features the new FR pantograph:

This highly recommended upgrade for Swiss Ae 6/6 locomotives will cost about $60 for 2 pantographs or 1 loco delivered to USA collectors, it is only available directly from FR. Photos show completed locomotives with the new FR pantograph.

Ordering from FR is fast and easy with an excellent website, careful packing and fast shipping. FR’s website uses green signals to indicate in stock items otherwise date projections for out of stock items, locos are seldom available at any given time, but they can be reserved for next production run usually 6 months out, worth the wait!

Note: FR lists the new pantograph can be used to upgrade the Re 4/4 locos, Marklin has released three thus far, but as of this posting I am not sure how the upgrade is made. I will be posting an update after speaking with Harald Freudenreich on this matter.

 

2nd Report on the new SBB pantograph: FR 41.490.00

I just received the new FR pantograph for Swiss locomotive types: Ae 6/6 and Re 4/4II, and I immediately installed it on the Marklin 8849 Serie Ae 6/6 electric locomotive; it is even better than I could have expected!

Installation of this part on one of the appropriate Marklin Z locos is a restoration project so to speak, for the first time the correct pantograph can be installed on Swiss locos which originally but incorrectly included the same style pantograph used on German locos. Until now Marklin has offered three styles of pantograph design with variations for a total of 6 different pantographs; they are all installed with a single center screw and furnished with electrical roof equipment of various cast plastic parts.

The FR pantograph is installed with a single center screw of the same diameter as the Marklin one, but simple modifications must be performed including the removal of plastic parts on each side of the original pantograph. If you want to preserve the plastic removal parts simple cut the melt points on the inside of shell: DO NOT USE A SOLDERING IRON TO REMELT THESE POINTS, USE OF AN SOLDERING IRON IN THIS MANNER WILL MORE THAN LIKELY RESULT IN PERMANENTLY DAMAGING THE SHELL BY MELTING IT. I simply pulled these parts off because I had no intention of saving them, each broke into many small pieces.

The pantograph is delivered in a nice plastic box with the screw installed in the pantograph, and a part sheet is included that contains the 4 post caps that are used in the installation. To upgrade one loco you need to buy a pair (2) of these pantographs (FR part #41.490.00). Cost to replace one pair of loco pantographs with the new FR ones is $56 including shipping for USA buyers. No directions are needed or included, but I will provide a few notes:

-First: remove shell from loco and unscrew the pantograph from inside shell

-Second: remove plastic parts from each side of original pantograph mounting on shell

-Third: working over a workbench preferably foam use tweezers to break apart 4 small post caps (part is located below foam insert in plastic box

Fourth: very small post caps are installed over the holes on shell that plastic parts (now removed) were originally engaged with, pantograph legs are inserted through the openings in the post caps, these small parts are precision made but due to their size they are somewhat difficult to work with, I installed the post caps over each of the four holes in alignment with the legs some wriggling of parts occurred before all four legs met up with the post cap holes, place pressure on pantograph top, tip upside down line-up screw in hole and tighten *you will find your own way during installation, use care to not lose parts and perhaps work over a parts collection tray working with one pantograph at a time

Several important advances have been made in Z-scaling including the advent of the 5 pole motor, side rod detailing, can motors and now a new pantograph for two Swiss class locos!

The following Marklin locos can be upgraded to the prototype with this new part: 8829 (Ae 6/6 released 1994-1996), 8849 (Ae 6/6 released 1987-1993), 8850 (Ae 6/6 released 1984-1987), 88501 (Ae 6/6 released 2003-2008), 88591 (Re 4/4II released 2012), 81410 (Ae 610 released 2010), and 81413 (Ae 6/6 released 1998-1999).

 

FR New Release: Prototypical SBB Pantographs!

Marklin Z electric locomotive pantographs are of two types: older scissor style and single arm. Variations include silver, black and blackened. Plus a third prototypical pantograph made just for the GG1’s. Marklin’s Swiss and German electric locomotives have been installed with these two styles of pantographs even though they vary with the respective prototypes. Marklin’s pantographs are an excellent standard style universally supplied on all electric locos with more recent single arm examples in black or blackened finish.

An exciting new release by FR is an upgrade for Marklin Z Swiss class Re 4/4II and Ae 6/6 locomotives with a newly designed pantograph accurate to the prototype. Here is a part described by FR that is an exact copy of the original pantographs for these locos that is easy to install. I want to share this information as it has just been announced, how long they will be available is unknown. I have already ordered 10, when they arrive I will add another post describing the installation with photos, but it looks like a unique opportunity to upgrade these Swiss locomotive types.

Re 4/4II

 

Ae6/6

Check out other FR Swiss freight cars each equipped with standard mini-club couplers, this company has been the first to release a number of interesting freight cars including K3 boxcars. Marklin’s foray into freight cars for Swiss modeling in Z is very good but limited to few examples, FR offers freight cars that have not been offered by Marklin in Z.

FR 41.332.02: SBB low side gondolas for MOW service

Rolling stock representing MOW service cars can be found for Swiss Federal Railways manufactured by FR. The FR 2 car set with item number 41.332.02 includes 2-type Xs71 low side gondolas used in this example for hauling away old wood sleepers.

Featuring authentic weathering and aging the sleepers in these loads look like perfect examples to be removed and replaced with new ones. Maintenance of way operations are as important in Switzerland as with any other railroad in the world, but their exemplary track maintenance practices excel far and above other countries including the United States.

As with all FR rolling stock the chassis is constructed of metal, and body is constructed of injection molded plastic (*some FR freight cars are constructed entirely of metal, the rule for FR seems to be utilizing the correct materials for the design build). FR insignia is incorporated on the underside of chassis.

This set combined with FR’s and Marklin’s Sersa sets round out a track maintenance trainset used in Switzerland.

Marklin 88692

Marklin 82517

FR 41.331.12

Siding: Sersa is a privately owned company for the repair and maintenance of railway right of way in Switzerland.

Repair Notes: Marklin 88992 Swiss class A3/5 express locomotive

Marklin 88992

Marklin 81035

Note: photo 1 depicts the 88992 loco and tender in Marklin’s original marketing literature, photos 2 and 3 depict the train set 81035. The original Marklin photograph varies greatly from the actual loco: paint finish not as glossy, side rods not as dark and wheel/spoke design more typical of other steam locos produced by Marklin in ‘Z’.

 

A ‘One Time Series’ locomotive from 2005 is the Swiss Federal Railways A 3/5 express locomotive based on the 4 cylinder compound prototype from Era II. Marklin released the locomotive with tender as item number 88992, they also released the train set 81035 in 2007 with this loco and tender plus 3 coaches called by Marklin “The Old Timer Train” in celebration of 125 years of the Gotthard Line. Both items are very hard to find for sale, but if you model Swiss trains and find one it might be of interest for your railroad. Having the luck to find one might come with some disappointment with running performance ‘out of the box’ which is the topic of this post. I own both the train set and the loco, each was purchased new, but the loco is a recent acquisition, it arrived with working headlamps and ‘HOS’ (hardened oil syndrome). The locomotive was dead on arrival which also indicated it was never run and the original Marklin oil was dried up. Marklin oil over time dries out, it acts like glue in this condition. Does it always happen? No! Marklin may have varied the oil used during assembly so sometimes there is HOS and sometimes no evidence of HOS with older locomotives.

More than likely 88992 will have HOS, one dealer I have seen is selling the locomotive with replaced wheel sets leading me to believe the original was traded out because it was mucked up, thus making it easier to trade out the chassis than making this rather tricky repair.

Removing HOS from this loco presents a few problems that are easily overcome with those with experience. First the loco has to be fully taken apart including un-soldering the leads to remove motor. The leads will spring away from motor which is easy at this stage but more difficult when re-soldering later in the repair. The problem which is relatively unique for this loco design are two gears that are attached directly to the frame, they are not easy to remove, but they don’t need to be removed. The gears in my loco were solidly stuck in place, I used ‘Original Windex’ (blue) and applied it with a dropper to both gears. Eventually the mild solvent loosened the gears that I worked back and forth with a toothpick until they were freely moving. At this point I dropped a few more drips of Windex and let the frame sit. When the Windex appeared to be dry I reattached the motor and ran it with a fresh oiling with synthetic plastic compatible ‘Z’ gauge lite oil. At this point the loco can be reassembled and tested on the track.

In summary: 2 frame mounted gears frozen in place by old dried oil will more than likely be the cause of this loco not working, removing the hardened oil will bring success!

Siding: If your headlamp works but the motor is silent chances are you have HOS, overly testing the loco in this condition will do no good for the motor.

Gottard Tunnel: 1872 + Marklin’s Swiss Steam Loco 88992 + 81035

The Gottard Tunnel opened to freight trains January 1, 1882 after 10 years of construction and deaths of 200 workers. It was the longest tunnel ever built when it opened with a total length of 9.322 miles. Used by steam trains until 1920 when it was electrified the private railway Gotthardbahn operated the tunnel until it was incorporated with the Swiss Federal Railways in 1909. The proposal for such a tunnel as part of the project to link North Italy and South Germany was first proposed in 1848, but the Gottard was a difficult tunnel to build with construction starting in 1872, workers used the recently invented dynamite (1867), pickax and shovel. The pace was slow at just under 5 meters a day for a proposed budget of 2830 Swiss  Francs per meter but that cost would increase by 11%. The lives it cost included the Swiss engineer Louis Favre who overseeing the project died of a heart attack inside the tunnel.

The Gotthard Tunnel one year before completion:

The Gottard Tunnel in 1890 as recorded by the Italian photographer Giorgio Sommer (Napoli) who was well known for his photographs of Switzerland’s geological formations:

Postcard view from 1900:

Postcard view from 1900:

Today with view from Goschenen station platform:

Siding: Marklin produced two Swiss early steam locomotives who’s prototypes would have run through the Gotthard at the beginning of the last century: 88992 + 81035.

88992 – Serie A 3/5 Era II loco with builder number 613 and paired with type T 20 tender. One Time Series 2005.

81035 – “Swiss Old Timer Train” Era I loco with builder’s number 605 paired with type T 21.5 tender with three coaches. One Time Series 2007.

 

 

82540 “Beet Harvest” car set and building kit

A long anticipated new freight car set has arrived for mini-club: 82540 “Beet Harvest” car set. Included in the set are 5 EANOS gondolas with completely new tooling. Also included in the set is a building kit identified by Marklin as the loading facility at Behringen, Germany. I am writing this post after having completed the building kit, and I decided to split the post into two parts: freight cars and building kit.

An introduction to this new release should first start with an historical perspective concerning sugar beets, its history is interesting. Sugar beet discovery in the mid 18th century with the support of the King of Prussia are the sweet alternative to tropically grown sugar cane. Today Russia stands as the world’s largest producer followed by France, United States and Germany respectively. Sugar beet harvest in the United States starts October 1st employing seasonal workers that help with the two week harvest. Two machines are used in the field including a defoliator to remove the green leaves and cut the beet top. A second machine is a “pinch wheel” harvester that pinches the root and lifts the beet to the harvester with some soil removal. From the harvester in the field the beets are offloaded to trucks for transport to a large processing plant. The Marklin model suggests a loading facility which would have been located near a rail siding for loading into high sided hoppers. Presumably a large farm or a group of farms can make use of this loading facility to expedite the transport by rail of this crop to the processing plant.

“Complete or partial new tooling” we hear a lot of from Marklin in recent years relating to the mini-club line-up owing to the many great advancements with new classes of locos, new types of rolling stock, motive power and in this case too a new building kit thrown in to an already outstanding set of 5 freight cars of completely new tooling. Set includes 5 type EANOS high side gondolas lettered for SBB with loads depicting sugar beets.  The finely lettered cars feature loads that are every bit accurate to real sugar beets in color and scale, google sugar beets and compare. Set gives a mighty fine impression of thousands of beets headed for the processing plant. A new advancement these days are close coupling featured with these cars.

A building kit is included with this set that Marklin describes at a loading facility from Behringen, Germany. Assembly instructions for the kit indicate Modellbau Laffont as the manufacturer, it appears that a similar car set was released previously by Trix with an identical ‘N’ scale loading facility. It is great fun to get cars with a building kit and vice versa, but this building kit is far from fun to assemble. First it is a building with filigree parts which form the framework along with several parts that require bending if you are to follow the instructions. Individual parts are numerous and made of construction paper thickness which can be difficult to work with. Add glue which expands and softens these parts along with their small size and your task is not going to be fun if you compare this kit to other manufacturers like Archistories. I give credit to the manufacturer for coming up with an interesting building, and I fully appreciate the tight budget that follows. If you get through the rather difficult construction you may be surprised at what an interesting finished building it is. Deciphering the illustrated instructions would be far easier a second time around so some mistakes I made would be avoided during a second build. I have a few suggestions and modifications that I would follow if I made another. So with the mistakes and modifications I am happy with the building which will be a great addition to my future layout alongside other laser cut card stock buildings which are rich in detail and color. 

Note: modifications that I made to the kit include two with the back wall – no angled roof partition and addition of brown strip to lower track side to hide cardboard bend marks. The first was a mistake and the second was to hide a rough part.

Start with the right tools, there are not many but don’t attempt to assemble this kit without magnifying goggles (not pictured)! Notice the exclamation mark next to the last comment.

Kit comes delivered in 8 part sheets of various color including one that are decals for “warning” stripes. Care should be taken separating parts as they are of very light gauge paper. Notice the large number of parts for this assembled model of just 1 1/8 x 2 13/16 inches overall.

Following the instruction manual I would make these comments in order of appearance to hopefully add some enjoyment and success for others putting this kit together: Steps A and B depict the filigree framework construction and attachment to the base, small drops of glue with a pin is all you need, I would suggest gluing after you have these parts in place followed by single drops below base where posts engage in holes in base. Step E requires bending conveyor belt, paper fibers will break in jagged edges plus may separate, I would suggest a small drop of glue to soften the ends of these fibers and bend back in place thereby smoothing the bend. Step F gives instructions to bend and contour a large part that goes across base and conveyor identified as part #D1, this part is flimsy paper and all the bends and contouring will give poor results and you may not be able to center the conveyor properly, I suggest cutting this part into three parts: along treads, beginning of conveyor, and back wall. After this part is carefully cut into four parts carefully glue in place starting with the conveyor which should be centered with the vertical conveyor shoot. Note: gaps can be filled with glue applied with a pin. Step M illustrates placing electrical box and storage box below conveyor, at this point it is awkward to place them, I suggest placing the electric box and carefully applying a drop of glue after placement followed by storage box. Step N part G4 is a roof partition for the back wall, it should be installed on an angle. Step P illustrates roofing material, fill gaps between sheets with glue. Lastly if you want to add realism consider weathering with dirt and grime, moving parts would be greased attracting dirt dust and static parts would have a layer of dirt. During loading a cloud of dust would be present. Dry brush techniques for dirt and grime on structure and conveyor, and application of dry pigments to roof and base by careful rubbing.

Siding: loading facility gives sense of scale to the massive size of these gondolas, a few figures and tractor with trailer or truck would give the impression of the operation. Wespe Models make a couple of nice tractors, a prototypical tipping trailer will be harder to model.

Swiss Locomotive Numbering System

Some complexity exists with the classification and numbering of Swiss Railway locomotives which is not limited to separate systems in place to classify railcars and locos thus duplicated classifications exist for the two types of motive power. A discussion of Swiss railway classification is in order as a basis to further discuss their numbering system.

Swiss classification includes the use of letters to denote type of loco and motive power. Marklin’s 8850 is one example of a class Ae 6/6 loco with destination signs for “Zurich”. According to the Swiss classification system the capital ‘A’ is given for locos that reach maximum speed of 85 to 110 km/hr. Small case letter ‘e’ is given for electric locos. And 6/6 is Co-Co wheel arrangement. A Swiss railcar has not been produced in ‘Z’ by Marklin, but one such example would be the EMU Bhe 4/6 11 from depot Monte Generoso. ‘B’ stands for 2nd class accomodations, ‘h’ stands for rack fitted, ‘e’ stands for electric powered, with wheel arrangement 4/6 (1B-B1).

Classification prefix letters for locos is as follows: R– max. speed in excess of 110 km/hr A– max. speed 85-110 km/hr B– max speed 70-80 km/hr C– max speed 60-65 km/hr D– max speed 45-55 km/hr E– shunting G– narrow gauge, H– rack fitted, O– open wagon, T– tractor, and X– departmental vehicle

Classification prefix letters for railcars and multi-units: A– 1st class accommodations, B– 2nd class accommodations, D– baggage compartment, S– saloon, Z– postal compartment

Classification suffix letters applied to all motive power: a– battery powered, e– electric powered, em– electro-diesel, h– rack fitted, m– diesel or gas powered, r– restaurant, rot– rotary snowplow, t– self-propelled department vehicle such as crane or snowplow

Note: to differentiate between classes with similar classifications numeals are used for example Re 4/4′, Re 4/4”

Also note: newly classified locos incorporate a three digit number thereby replacing the fractional numbers, but the classification letters are maintained in the new method.

Since 1989 all locos on the SBB Railways produced in that year and subsequent years follow the current numbering system, all locos before 1989 were not renumbered unless a major overhaul occurred with a specific loco. Museum locos maintain their original number. Three sets of numbers are indicated on 1989 to the present locomotives in Switzerland, this system follows this numbering scheme: First digit: 0– steam loco or historic railcar, 1– meter gauge loco, 2– tractor, 3– electric loco with 3 powered axles, 4– electric loco with 4 powered axles, 5– electric railcar, 6– electric loco with 6 powered axles, 7– departmental self-propelled vehicle excluding locos, 8– diesel loco, 9– electric shunting loco. Second digit: 0– express railcars, 1-6– sub class index (bogie electric locos), type of electric loco, number of powered axles of a diesel loco, 7-8– not used, 9– not used generally except for rigid frame electric locos. Third digit: 2-4– two, three, four voltage loco or railcar, 5-8– owned by private railway. Fourth thru Sixth digits are the running numbers followed by the final number which is the ‘computer check digit’.

The computer check digit is used to verify the correct digits were used for classification and numbering. For the Swiss locomotive the last digit is the computer check digit which corresponds to the result of a simple calculation of class and running numbers: multiply each digit of the class and running numbers alternately by 1 and 2, add up the result and subtract from the next larger whole ’10’ number. For example: Swiss class 460 033-4 is verified in the following manner- 4×1, 6×2, 0x1, 0x2, 3×1, 3×2= 4+1+2+0+0+3+6=16. Thus 20-16=4!

Reference material: Swiss Railways, published by Platform 5, written by David Haydock, Peter Fox and Brain Garvin.