Henschel-BBC DE2500

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DB Class 202
Henschel-BBC DE2500.jpg
DB 202 002
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-Electric
Builder Henschel, Brown, Boveri & Cie, MTU
Serial number 202 002, 003, 004
Build date 1971; 1974
Total produced 3 prototypes
UIC class B'B' (003), C'C' (002, 004)
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Wheel diameter 1,100 mm (43.31 in)
Length 18,000 mm (59 ft 0.7 in)
Width 3,070 mm (10 ft 0.87 in)
Height 4,280 mm (14 ft 0.50 in)
Loco weight 80 t (79 long tons; 88 short tons)
Fuel type Diesel
Electric system(s) 3-phase rotary current (002, 003, 004)
1.5 kV DC Catenary (003 UmAn version)
Current collection Pantograph (003 UmAn version)
Prime mover V12 diesel, (Henschel or MTU) (002,003, 004)
Aspiration turbocharged
Traction motors Asynchronous rotary current
MU working yes
Loco brake Disc brakes, generator brake
Train brakes triple-release airbrakes
Safety systems SiFa, Indusi
Performance figures
Maximum speed 120 km/h (75 mph) (004) / 140 km/h (87 mph) (002, 003) / 250 km/h (160 mph) (003 UmAn version)
Power output 2,500 hp (1,900 kW)
Tractive effort

starting : 278 kN (62,000 lbf) (all), 175 kN (39,000 lbf) (UmAn)

continuous : 200 kN (45,000 lbf) (all), 160 kN (36,000 lbf) (UmAn)
Delivered 1971, 1974
First run 1971
Current owner all in German museums

The DB Class 202, also commonly referred to under its manufacturers' designation Henschel-BBC DE2500, since it was only in experimental use and never purchased by the DB, is a class of diesel-electric locomotives designed for use on main and secondary lines for both passenger and freight trains.

One unit was converted to 1.5 kV DC operation under electric catenary, and used by the Nederlandse Spoorwegen, as NS Class 1600P.


Streamlined DB 202 003

The class represents a major milestone in the German locomotive development, since in these locomotives three phase asynchronous electric traction was first applied in a mainline diesel-electric locomotive.

The DE2500 featured a light-weight and completely modular construction, which allowed the quick and easy exchange of whole sections of the locomotive, such as the prime mover, generator or alternator sections. It was both capable of driving on C'C' bogies (002, 004) as well as B'B' bogies (003). All the components of the electric sections - from generator to traction motors - were built to the latest state of the art featuring brushless, collectorless and nearly contactless operation, which resulted in long service intervals and high reliability.

The locomotives were extensively tested by the Deutsche Bundesbahn on its lines throughout Western Germany, starting in 1971 through the mid-1980s. They were stationed at Bw Mannheim with the following DB numbers:

  • 202 002-2 (white)
  • 202 003-0 (orange, later UmAn paint scheme)
  • 202 004-8 (blue)

Conversion to electric locomotive[edit]

During the mid-1970s, locomotive 202-002 was converted for the Dutch railways (NS) into an all-electric locomotive for 1.5 kV DC-overhead wire. It was painted in the Dutch yellow scheme, assigned the number 1600P and given the logos of the Dutch railways. A pantograph for the collection of the current from the overhead wire was installed, the diesel prime mover and the generator section were removed and replaced with ballast weight. The NS was very pleased with the results of the test cycles, but ultimately chose to acquire its serial-production Class 1600 from French manufacturers, based on the BB 7200, for both budget and delivery time considerations.

Test-run in Denmark[edit]

The Danish State Railways, DSB, tested the locomotive 202 004. The later acquired DSB Class ME, though heavier and stronger (115 t, 3.300 hp), were based on these prototypes. 37 of the class were built.


DB Class 202 003 in Berlin museum.

An H0 scale model engine has been made of the BR 202 by the German company Heris.


  • Matthias Maier (1997) (in German), Diesellokomotiven deutscher Eisenbahnen, Düsseldorf: alba 
  • Markus Hehl (in German), Eisenbahn-Kurier Special : Deutsche Diesellokomotiven, Freiburg: EK-Verlag 
  • Karl Gerhard Baur: Die Geschichte der Drehstromlokomotiven. EK-Verlag, Freiburg, 2005. ISBN 3-88255-146-1
  • BBC Asynchronous motor drive for Diesel locomotives Order No. D VK 40810 E
  • Horst J. Obermayer: Diesellokomotiven - Mit Kleinlokomotiven, Stuttgart 1972.