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Each Locomotive Classification is on a separate page.
Click on the class or image to access the appropriate page



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?
There is a suggestion that if two classes had the same wheel arrangement then an additional number (the first number of the road number) was used. e.g. There is reference to a 231.3 class.
But letters were also used e.g. 141 class is also known as the ZL class!.

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.

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

I am still investigating pre 1975 classifications. Some are the same e.g. 141 steam class, and some are different e.g. 'BB' class instead of D9E. There is also reference to a CY class. Could the first letter refer to the wheel arrangement? e.g. B means B-B and C means 0-6-0?

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Railways in Vietnam website 2009-2016 David Gurnett
Last Updated June 15, 2016
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