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D20E/AR15 VR
Co-Co Diesel Electric

D20E 001
Above: D20E 001 poses in Siemens yard in Munich ready for delivery. Siemens Photo.

This is the newest class of locomotives in service with the DSVN (Allowing for the fact that the last 20 D19Es are not a new class). They were originally ordered in 2004 and were delivered in 2006.

They were built by Siemens AG in Munich, Germany as their Model AR15 VR, the first of a proposed series of locomotives designed for the Asian metre gauge( called AsiaRunner). There have been no other buyers up to now. The initial order was for 16 locomotives. The first two locomotives were handed over on 15 December 2006 and sent to Viet Nam.

The locomotive is fitted with an MTU 12 cylinder 1500kw diesel engine. Wikipedia suggests that a 16 cylinder engine was originally planned but the 12 cylinder version was adopted to keep the axle loading at about 13.5 tons.

There was a suggestion that an additional 4 locomotives were ordered making a total of 20, but the last four were never delivered so there are in fact 16 in the class.There are some suggestions that they have not been as successful as originally hoped. Other comments suggest that they are very expensive compared to their Chinese equivalents (D19E). A figure of 2.9 million euros per locomotive has been suggested or around 46 million euros for the order. Perhaps this is why the order for four extra locomotives was never filled. They are numbered 001 - 016. They are the most powerful diesel locomotives on the DSVN system at 2010 hp, but could only be classified as medium level power as compared with international trends, which see 3000-4000hp as being standard these days even on narrow guage. Up to three locomotives can be operated in multiple, but I doubt this has ever happened, probably because of the poor track at various points on the DSVN.

D20-001 insided20-001 cab

Above: Two interior shots of D20-001 in Berlin at the Innotrans Exhibition September 2006. The Exhibition is the world's largest rail industry trade fair. In 2006 it was held from the 19th to 22nd of September. Photos by tobias b köhler

It's interesting that the colour scheme was changed again. Most rail systems seem to settle on one 'corporate'colour scheme for their locomotives. Not the DSVN apparently!

The class seems to operate almost exclusively north from Da Nang in central Vietnam and has rarely been seen south of that city, if ever.

It's interesting to note that Siemens designed the class for passenger trains between Hanoi, Da Nang and Sai Gon. While they are certainly used in passenger services, I'm sure they've been relegated to freight services on more than one occasion!

Above: Another shot of D20E 001 at the Siemens factory. Probably the only time it will ever be seen this clean! Official Siemens photo.

Siemens AG, Munich, Germany
AR15 VR, 'AsiaRunner'
Number in Class
Road Numbers
Builders Numbers
1000 mm
MTU 12V 4000R41 rated at 1500 kw/ 2010hp with 1220 kw available at the wheels
Max Speed
120 kph (135kph running alone according to Siemens)
81 tonnes
Minimum Radius
97 metres on mainline/ 70 metres in workshop area
Staring Tractive Effort
260kN/58450 lbs
Continuous tractive Effort
234 kN
19180 mm
2688 mm over body/ 2820 mm including door handles
3945 mm
Axle Load
13.5 tonnes
Wheel Diameter
1016 mm
Distance Between Bogie Centres
10,300 mm
Fuel Capacity
4000 litres

Photo Gallery
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Siemens Images

These images were taken from what appears to be a Siemens online catalogue.

Construction Photos

These photos were taken in the Seimens factory in Germany.
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D20E Around Da Nang Yard - November 2007
Photos by 'Alexito'
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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. If two groups of locomotives had the same wheel arrangement then they were referred to by their wheel arrangement and the first road number. E.g. 231-500 class and 231-400 class. The 141-A-100 and 231-A-500 classes were obvious exceptions.

Diesel locomotives have a completely dfferent clasification system.

All diesel classes start with the letter 'D'  (for diesel?) 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.

What happens if two classes have the same horsepower I don't know.

For pre-1975 Diesels in the south the French system was also used e.g. BB907 class instead of the current D9E.

Pre-1975 in the north is shrowed in great mystery (That means I haven't found out yet !)


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  This page updated August 20, 2015
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