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31 and 40 class Rack Locomotives

These locomotives were used on the Dalat to Thap Cham Rack Railway. Only 7 km of the line (Between Dalat and Trai Mat) remains and no track with rack remains though there are a couple of short bits of rack (non operational) at Dalat. The locomotives and the line were basically abandoned after 1975, because of the need to restore the main north-south line. Some locomotives have returned to their homeland (Switzerland) where they have been restored to pristine working condition. There was some talk about restoring the line as a tourist attraction but nothing seems to have happened so far.

40 Class

rack01


VHX02

31 Class

VNX 31

VNX 31_40
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 the same wheel arrangement? It would appear that there would be several different say 231 classes eg. 231-301 and 231-501.

Diesel locomotives have a completely dfferent clasification system.

In the south diesels were classified again by wheels, so BB for bo-bo types. The same system as used in France and still used in Cambodia. In the north I'm not sure.

Now 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.

Therefore it would appear that metre guage locomotives can have the same class but not the same road number.

Standard guage locomotives have a slightly different system. Diesel sometimes have 'er' added to the class e.g. D19er, but sometimes don't, e.g. D14E. Steam?

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Railways in Vietnam website 2009-2014 David Gurnett
  Updated February 3, 2014
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Please feel free to contact me at railwaysofvietnam@gmail.com