NS Class 6400

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NS Class 6400
Railion 6418, Awhv.jpg
Railion 6418 "John" (2009)
Type and origin
BuilderMaK / ABB
Build date1988-94[1]
Total produced120[1]
 • UICBo′Bo′
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Wheelbasebogie center distance 7.400 m (24 ft 3 38 in)[1]
Length14.400 m (47 ft 2 78 in)[1]
Width2.400 m (7 ft 10 12 in)[1]
Loco weight80 tonnes (79 long tons; 88 short tons)[1]
Fuel capacity2,900 L (640 imp gal; 770 US gal)[1]
Prime moverMTU 12V396TC13[1]
TransmissionDiesel electric
Performance figures
Maximum speed120 km/h (75 mph)[1]
Power output1,180 kW (1,580 hp)[1]
Tractive effort290 kN (65,000 lbf)[2]
OperatorsRailion Nederland
NicknamesDuitse Herder, Vlaamse Reus[note 1]

The NS Class 6400 is a type of 4 axle diesel-electric freight locomotive. 120 were built by MaK and ABB between 1988 and 1994 for Nederlandse Spoorwegen.

Design and description[edit]

The locomotives were the result of a contract won by MaK and Brown, Boveri & Cie to replace Nederlandse Spoorwegen's old medium power locomotives;[note 2] the design is based upon the MaK DE 1002 with modifications;[1] the locomotives are 1.4 m (4 ft 7 18 in) longer to incorporate additional equipment, in particular an auxiliary diesel generator, as well as ATB equipment; the bogies are longer than on the DE 1002 to incorporate tread brakes instead of disc brakes.[3]

Operations and operators[edit]

For Nederlandse Spoorwegen 120 of these locomotives were built, numbered 6401-6520.[1]

The locomotives became the property of NS Cargo, and then Railion Benelux when the company merged with DB Cargo in 2000;[4] the locomotives subsequently became the property of the successor companies; Railion Nederland, then DB Schenker Rail Nederland[5] (part of the DB Schenker group).

Some locomotives have had PZB (Indusi) or Memor safety systems installed to allow operations in Germany or Belgium.[2]

The class can be seen over the whole country, with many to be found at Amsterdam Westhaven, Kijfhoek Yard, Roosendaal, Tilburg, Emmerich am Rhein (Germany), Amersfoort, Venlo, Zwolle and many other places; the locomotives often work in pairs or in threes on heavy trains.[citation needed]

Many of the locomotives carry boys names; these are from the names of Dutch notaries, often directors of companies and businessmen; e.g. 6401 was named Mijndert after Mijndert Pon, director of the Pon company.[2]

In November 2010 two units were sold to Eurotunnel in 2010 to operate alongside the existing Class 0001 locomotives.[6] Eurotunnel acquired another three in 2016.[7]

Due to the economic downturn of the late 2000s, in 2011 numbers 6401-6410, 6419, 6420, 6443-6460, 6462, 6471-6475, 6480-6494, 6496, 6498 and 6501-6503 were out of service.[8]


In 1993 several locomotives were sent to the Norwegian State Railways (NSB) for assessment. On 3 October 1993 locomotive 6454 ran away downhill 5 km (3.1 mi) outside Nordstrand Station; it collided with a stationary passenger train in the station, resulting in the death of five people. As a result of the apparent brakes failure all the class were taken out of service; it transpired that mechanical failure was not the cause and that the brakes had been rendered inactive by a control valve closed in the wrong position during maintenance.[2]

On 24 September 2009 locomotives 6415 and 6514 were involved in a head-on collision with an EMD 66 locomotive of ERS (No. 6616) near Barendrecht. One of the drivers was killed and the other seriously injured. Both 6400 series locomotives were scrapped. (see Barendrecht train accident.)

Locomotives 6424, 6429, 6430, 6442, 6444, 6465, 6491, 6493, 6497, 6499, 6516 6520 also have been damaged in collisions, 6437 was damaged by run away wagons, 6501 was involved in a crash with a tram.[2]


The locomotives were originally in NS grey and yellow, except the last 10 units (6511-6520) which were in a red livery with diagonal white stripe on the front surface.[5] After takeover by Railion locomotives received a red Railion sticker on the side, later some locomotives received a red railion livery. A small number of units also received RailPro livery and branding; the locomotive names are carried on the cab fronts between the roof and top of the windows.

See also[edit]

  • Barendrecht train accident
  • MaK DE 1004 aka "Eurotunnel Class 0001", similar design locomotives built for eurotunnel as rescue locomotives; fitted with special smoke filtration equipment for tunnel use.
  • NSB Di 8 diesel electric locomotives ordered as a result of the NS 6400 trials in Norway.


  1. ^ Duitse Herder and Vlaamse Reus; Dutch for German Shepherd Dog and Flemish Giant rabbit
  2. ^ The NS Class 2200 and NS Class 2400


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "MaK - DE 6400 für die Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS)". www.loks-aus-kiel.de (in German).
  2. ^ a b c d e "NS Class 6400". www.netherlandsrailways.co.uk. Archived from the original on 17 July 2010.
  3. ^ "MaK DE 6400". nl.wikipedia.org (in Dutch).
  4. ^ "DB And NS Sign Freight Merger Deal.(Brief Article)(Statistical Data Included)". elibrary.ibtimes.com. International Railway Journal. 1 October 1999.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b "MaK - DE 6400 für die Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS)". www.loks-aus-kiel.de (in German). See individual locomomtive histories.
  6. ^ "Eurotunnel buys more rescue locomotives". www.railwaygazette.com. Railway Gazette International. 3 November 2010.
  7. ^ "ECR transfers former DB DE6400s to Calais". mainline diesels.net. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Somda nieuws goederenvervoer, 2 jan 2011, Goederentreinen" [SOMDA news - 2 January 2011, freight trains]. somda.nl (in Dutch). section : DBSRN (DB Schenker Rail Netherlands). Archived from the original on 3 March 2014.

External links[edit]