MaK / Vossloh G1206

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MaK G 1206 / Vossloh G 1206
MaK G1206-2.jpg
MaK 1206-2 diesel hydraulic locomotive, number 603 of the Eisenbahn und Häfen
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-hydraulic
BuilderMaK / Vossloh in Kiel
Build dateG 1206:[1] 1997 -
G 1206-2:[1] 2007 -
Total producedG 1206: 167+
G 1206-2: 10[2]
 • UICB'B'
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Wheel diameter1,000 mm (39.37 in) (new)
920 mm (36.22 in) (new/worn) [3]
Length14.70 m (48 ft 3 in)[3]
Width3.08 m (10 ft 1 in)[3]
Height4.22 m (13 ft 10 in)[3]
Loco weightG 1206: 80–90 t (79–89 long tons; 88–99 short tons)[3]
G 1206-2: 84–90 t (83–89 long tons; 93–99 short tons)[3]
Fuel capacityG1206 3,500 L (770 imp gal; 920 US gal)[3]
G1206-2 3,150 L (690 imp gal; 830 US gal)[2]
Prime moverG 1206:
CAT 3512 B DITA-SC[3]
or MTU 12 V 4000 R41[3]
MTU 16V 396 TC14[4] */***
or MTU TC14 12 V 4000 R20[4] **

G 1206-2:
CAT 3508 B DITA-SC[2]
CylindersG 1206: V16 (or V12 **)[4]
G 1206-2: 8
TransmissionHydraulic G 1206: Voith L5r4zU2[4]
also Voith L5r4zseU2 ***
G 1206-2: Voith L4r4zeU2[3]
Loco brakeWheel disc brake, hydrodynamic brake optional[3]
Performance figures
Maximum speedG 1206:
60 km/h (37 mph)/100 km/h (62 mph) with Voith L5r4zseU2 transmission[4] ***
100 km/h (62 mph) Caterpillar engine and L5r4zU2 transmission
90 km/h (56 mph) with MTU engine and Voith L54rzU2 transmission[4] */**
G 1206-2: 50 km/h (31 mph)[1]
Power outputG 1206:
1,500 kW (2,000 hp)[1]
or 1,570 kW (2,110 hp) with MTU 16V 396 TC14[4] */***
G 1206-2: 920 kW (1,230 hp)[1]
Tractive effort282 kN (63,000 lbf) (starting with 87.3 t loco @ μ=0.33[1])
** Dortmunder Eisenbahn
*** Swedish Rail Administration

The Vossloh G1206 is a B'B' diesel hydraulic freight locomotive built in Kiel and used by several European railway operators including a SNCF specific variant the BB 461000 series.

The design was created in the mid-1990s by Maschinenbau Kiel (MaK) for German coal supplier RAG Aktiengesellschaft and is a follow-on to the MaK G1205 locomotive class built as the SNCB Class 77. Production continued under Vossloh ownership of the Kiel plant[5]

In 2007 a shunting specific variant, the G1206-2 was created and began production.

Four Caterpillar-engined locomotives hired from Angel Trains Cargo by Euro Cargo Rail were assigned to TOPS Class 21[6] due to their presence at times on the UK side of the channel tunnel. ECR assigned the codes FB1544 to FB1547 to these locomotives.[7][8][9][10]

History and design[edit]

In the 1990s the de-monopolisation and liberalisation of the railways of member states of the European Union meant that private companies could access formerly state-owned track. With this came numerous private operators running locomotives on the main line for the first time. MaK had previously been quite successful in providing freight locomotives for industrial use to various companies. The G 1201 and G 1205 models (and intermediate variants) had been examples of the type of locomotives larger private companies had used. These locomotives were suitable for pulling fairly heavy freight consists as well as shunting. However track access charges (as well as the necessity not to interrupt passenger trains) meant that on the main lines freight trains must run much faster than they did in an industrial environment.

As a consequence Vossloh introduced the G 1206; it was based on the G 1205 but was substantially more powerful allowing it to pull freight trains at a higher speed (or simply pull heavier trains). Thus the 12-cylinder engine of the G 1205 was replaced with a 16-cylinder engine, because of this along with the increase size of the auxiliary equipment required the new locomotive was almost 2 metres longer than its 1,180 kW (1,580 hp) predecessor.[4][11]

The cab is situated approximately above one of the bogies, with doors opening onto walkways on both sides along the rest of the locomotive; the external design is functional, with flat steels and right angles predominating.

Variants and orders[edit]

The initial versions had a MTU engine (the 16 V 396 TC14); two variants were built either with or without a two-speed voith transmission - versions with the two-speed transmissions had a lower gear limiting the maximum speed to ~60 km/h (37 mph) but giving greater torque.

The initial order from RAG had single speed transmission - 11 were built; the top speed was limited to 80 km/h (50 mph).

A further four machines were built with a single gear transmission otherwise identical design except for the use of a 12-cylinder engine from MTU of almost equal power to the previous 16-cylinder version; these were for Dortmunder Eisenbahn GmbH (literally Dortmund railway). They were numbered 401 to 404, number 403 can be seen here in action in its green and yellow livery:[12]

Six units were built with the speed transmission for the Banverket (Swedish Rail Administration) for delivery to Borlänge[4][13] In addition to modifications for cold weather operation the running gear has steering rods[citation needed][clarification needed] fitted enabling a higher top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph).

The design then underwent further improvement; the improved bogies used in the machines for Banverket were made standard with improvements to the axlebox[clarification needed].[4] A 12-cylinder engine of 1,500 kW (2,000 hp) was used but from Caterpillar instead of the MTU engine used the machines built for Dortmunder Eisenbahn GmbH. With these changes the basic design of the main tranche of G 1206's was complete.

The introduction of the Caterpillar engine led to a slight change in external appearance - previously the fore and aft sections had been practically identical in height, but to accommodate the Caterpillar engine the 'fore' (longer) section was raised slightly.[4]

This model was used by SNCF as the BB 461000, as well as numerous private operators. Many of the locomotives produced are owned by Alpha Trains, with a further significant number owned by Mitsui Rail Capital, both these companies lease the locomotives to private operators, sometimes for short periods of time. They have been used all over Europe: In Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

In April 2006, another variant was produced, this time for Seco Rail, the engine specified was the MTU 12V 4000 R41 which was the type meeting the European emissions standards at that time. The two-speed hydraulic transmission from Voith (L54r zseU2) was used again - giving a top speed of 60 or 100 km/h (37 or 62 mph) depending on gear. The locomotives were equipped for use in France.


Owner Engine Transmission Number Comments
RAG Aktiengesellschaft MTU 16V 396 TC14 Voith L5r4zU2 11 Built 1997–1998
Dortmunder Eisenbahn MTU 12V 4000 R20 4 Built 1998–1999 with 1,500 kW (2,000 hp) 12-cylinder MTU engine
Banverket MTU 16V 396 TC14 Voith L5r4zeU2 6 Built 1998–1999, modifications to running gear allow 100 km/h (62 mph) top speed
Low gear for increased torque, cold weather modifications
Various CAT 3512 B DITA-SC Voith L5r4zU2 23 SNCF BB 461000 : Modifications to braking system with two brake control units instead of one. Improved electric current flow across the wheels for track occupancy safety systems (included wheel tread cleaning system). Approved for use in France and Germany.[4]
89 Various private operators[14][15][16] including Railion, Hoyer Railserv GmbH, Nordbayerische Eisenbahngesellschaft mbH, Westfälische Landes-Eisenbahn GmbH (WLE), Spitzke Logistik GmbH (SLG), Hoyer, Rail4chem, Européenne de Travaux Ferroviaires SA (ETF), Veolia cargo, Bayerische Cargo Bahn GmbH, Strukton Railinfra Materieel B.V, ACTS Nederland B.V, ERS Railways B.V., Connex Cargo Logistics and others[17]
Seco Rail
Colas Rail
MTU 12V 4000 R41 Voith L5r4zeU2 24+ 20 for Seco Rail, 4 for Colas Rail


The G1206-2 is a shunting variant of the G1206 with a smaller (920 kW or 1,230 hp) engine and transmission. Because of the smaller engine only one cooling fan is needed - this is the only external difference between this type and its 'big sister'.[2] Operators include Eisenbahn und Häfen GmbH (~7 units), Dillinger Hüttenwerke (1 unit), Ruhr Oel GmbH (also used by BP Gelsenkirchen GmbH) (1 unit).[17]

Models of the G1206[edit]

Models of the G1206 have been produced in HO scale by Mehano and PIKO, and in N scale by Piko. Trix/Minitrix has also produced G1206 models in HO and N scales using operator's liveries' applied on similar models of MaK/Vossloh machines such as their reproductions of NS Class 6400, or MaK G 1205.

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f G 1206 Four axle, diesel-hydraulic locomotive for line and heavy shunting Archived 2009-01-06 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d G 1206-2
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k G 1206 product sheet Archived 2010-05-09 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l " - MaK - G 1206".
  5. ^ Vossloh acquired ownership of the factory from Siemens in 1998
  6. ^ The all-time guide to the UK Traction Classification System : Part 2: Locomotives 2/5/2006
  7. ^ Fahrzeugportrait Vossloh 5001628
  8. ^ Fahrzeugportrait Vossloh 5001630
  9. ^ Fahrzeugportrait Vossloh 5001631
  10. ^ Fahrzeugportrait Vossloh 5001516
  11. ^ " - MaK - G 1205".
  12. ^ "YouTube".
  13. ^ BB multi-purpose locomotive G 1206 of Banverket BV, Sweden with L 5r4 zseU2 turbo reversing transmission[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ " - Lieferliste G 1206 für Deutschland mit Caterpillar-Motor".
  15. ^ " - Lieferliste G 1206 für Frankreich mit Caterpillar-Motor".
  16. ^ " - Lieferliste G 1206 für die Niederlande mit Caterpillar-Motor".
  17. ^ a b Because of the fluid nature of the leasing business, with some locomotives on hire for periods of only a few months it is impossible to present here a full listing of the operators.

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]