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D19E -"Đổi Mới"
Co-Co Diesel Electric Locomotive
"Type 1" and "Type 2"


Above: Final type 1 locomotive D19E-940 at Thap Cham on a short freight in 2014.

Above: 'Type 1' D19E - 902 at Hanoi

These 80 locomotives were built by CSR Ziyang and the Gia Lam Workshops of DSVN and are used for both freight and passenger services. They are members of CSR's model CKD7F.

There are two versions which I'll call type 1 and type 2. The last 40 were delivered with a different more rounded body style. According to an article in Wikipedia, the first type (901-940) were built in four batches, the first 10 being delivered to Lao Cai (one of the border crossings between China and Vietnam) on January 20, 2002. The second batch of 10 were delivered on December 28 of that year , with the the third batch of 20 units being delivered March 18, 2004. The locomotives were painted in a new red, white and blue colour scheme presumambly to match the new airconditioned cars coming into service.

A fourth batch of 20 units (941-960) as far as I can ascertain was either built or at least assembled in DSVN's Gia Lam Workshops and delivered during 2007 and 2008. These units have a different more rounded body design and a rather garish (in my opinion) pink/white/blue colour scheme. I am not aware of any mechanical differences between the type 1 and type 2 versions. The roof line appears to be identical. They seem to be quite a successful class and can be seen everywhere on the metre gauge network. The type 1 have ""Đổi Mới" (renovation) on the nose under the cab windows, but this does not appear on the type 2, though there is one photo of the body of 945 on a flat wagon presumbably being delivered from China with Đổi Mới on the nose (see below). None of the machines in service seem to have this.

Type 2 with DoiMoi

The first 40 units (type 1) initially had what I presume is the builders number  (e.g. CKD7F0038 for D19E-938) painted on the side under the cab door but these seem to have disappeared after re-paints. The photo above shows 945 also with a builders number but like the "Doi Moi" this never seemed to make it to the actual locomotives in the batch. Some of the early machines also had plates on the side "VRA D19E-010" but these seem to have disappeared pretty quickly as well.

Above: CSR Builders photo of type 1. Note no DSVN road numbers.

From 2011 an additional 20 locomotives were constructed. All have been delivered. These additional machines all carry the Gia Lam/CSR builders plates. Changes seem to include a Type 1  headlight and no chromed 'radiator'  on the nose (presumably this was cosmetic). This brings the class up to 80, a significant number on any rail system. It's not known if there are any mechanical changes from the earlier units. Once again the locomotives are part constructed by CSR and part constructed and assembled at Gia Lam. It would seem that significantly more actual construction was carried out by Gia Lam than with the earlier members of the class.

It's interesting that when the DSVN wanted more locomotives they went for the Chinese product rather than the German one. Probably a combination of cost and CSR being prepared to share construction.

D19E Phase 2 001
Above: 'Type 2' D19E - D19E-945 on shed in Hanoi

Above: Type 2 locomotive D19E-960 at the entrance to Saigon Locomotive Depot May 2015.


1000 mm
Years Built
2003-2004 (901-920) 2006-2007 (921-940) 2007-2008 (941 - 960), 2011-2012 (961-980)
CSR Ziyang (China Southern) and Gia Lam Works DSVN
Wheel Arrangement
Co Co
No. in Class
Road Numbers
901-980: 901-940 Type 1, 941-960 Type 2, 961-980 Type 2 (With slight modifications)
16892 mm
2900 mm
3900 mm
Distance Between Bogie Centres
8100 mm
78/81 tonne
Maximum Speed
120 kph
Continuous Speed
14.7 kph
Axle Load
13.5 tonne
Min. Negiotiable Curve
70 m
Diesel Engine
Caterpiller CAT3512B (US Built) developing 1455 kw/ 1950 hp.
Main generator
Traction motors
Starting Tractive Effort
250 kn
Continuous Tractive Effort
200 kn
Fuel Capacity
3500 litres
Oil Capacity
318 litres
Water Capacity
600 litres
Sand Capacity
400 kg
Wheel Diameter
1000 mm
Air Brakes

Above: Nose view of new unit 962. Note lack of 'radiator' and type 1 headlight.

Above: Brand new D19E-962 (note earlier type headlight and lack of 'radiator')

New D19E
Above: Brand new D19E-964 presumably in Gia Lam Workshop ready for service.

builders plate 01

Above: Builder's plate of D19E-962
Cosntruction photos (Type 2 last batch)

The photos below show several of the most recent batch
of type 2 units being constructed at Gia Lam Works.

builders 1
builders 3

builders 4builders 5

builders 6builders 2

Image Gallery

Click on Thumbnails for full size Images

Type 1








Type 2







D19EdriverincabD19Ethumbcab shot1D19Ethumbcabshots2




Locomotive Classifications

Steam Locomotives generally used the traditional French classification system. A steam locomotive with a 2-8-2 wheel arrangement is classified as 141 class, a locomotive with  4-6-2 wheel arrangement is classified as 231 class etc. Pretty straight forward, except what happened  if two classes had a 2-8-2 wheel arrangement I'm not sure. It didn't happen so wasn't a problem?
Apparently  if two classes had the same wheel arrangement then an road numbers were used to identify individual locomotives.. e.g. There is reference to a 231.300 class.
But letters were also used e.g. 141 class is also known as the ZL class in the North!.

Diesel locomotives have a completely dfferent clasification system.

All diesel classes start with the letter 'D'  (for diesel or dau may) then a number which I believe is related to the locomotives  power output. The third character defines  Electric' (E) or hydraulic  (H).

e.g. D5H class = Diesel + 500 hp + hydraulic.

Again, what happens if two classes are the same I don't know.

Before 1975 again the French Diesel classification was used in the south e.g.  'BB907' class instead of D9E. BB refers to the B-B wheel arrangement of the locomotive plus the first road number of the class. It would appear that the classes in the south were converted to the "D" system pretty soon after re-unification in 1975. What system was used in the north during the war I'm still not clear about.

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Railways in Vietnam website 2009-2015 David Gurnett
  Updated June 8,  2015
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