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Based on the V100, the DB Class V90 was born from the need for a higher rated shunting locomotive. While an improved V100 was intended, this never came to fruition due to design and stability problems.

A prototype variant was first introduced in 1964 with a 1,100Hp engine and top speed of 70 km/h. Full mainline production machines began appearing in 1974, with a more powerful 1350 Hp engine and 80 km/h top speed.

Due to its intended yard shunting nature, the introduction of new technology to increase efficiency of operation has seen the usage of radio control equipment with the V90, named Class 290 in later years. This upgrading to external driving by yard controllers resulted in reclassification of affected units to Class 294 of which a sizable fleet has been created

Many of these units work in conjunction with a 6-axle flat wagon loaded with concrete weights to act as additional braking force allowing the locomotives to control trains of up to 2000 tons. Despite the external control ability, the engine is still occupied by a driver for safety purposes and continued operation if communication with the control tower is lost. Such a transition is indicated by an external lamp on the roof of the locomotive being extinguished when remote control is no longer possible.

The end of the Class 294 locomotive has been now been sealed with Deutsche Bahn signing an agreement in September 2008 for 130 Voith Gravita 10BB locomotives to replace the aging V90 fleet from 2010 onwards.

Routes Featuring the Class 294

Hagen to Siegen