French locomotive classification

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Under the French classification system for locomotive wheel arrangements, the system is slightly different for steam and electric/diesel vehicles.


The French system counts axles, rather than wheels. As with Whyte notation, a conventional rigid locomotive will have three digits corresponding to its axle configuration:

The first digit is the number of leading unpowered axles; the second digit the number of powered axles; The third digit the number of trailing unpowered axles.


0-6-0 = 030

2-6-0 = 130

0-6-2 = 031

SNCF 231G 558 pulling an excursion train in June 2009

4-6-2 = 231

2-8-0 = 140

2-6-6-2 = 130+031

Electric and diesel[edit]

With electric and diesel vehicles include DMUs a letter A-B-C-D replaces 1-2-3-4 for the number of powered axles, and each bogie is grouped separately.

0-4-0+0-4-0 = B-B (if axles connected by rods or other means)

0-6-0+0-6-0 = Co-Co (if axles driven independently)

See also[edit]