Locomotive numbering system of the Swiss railways

The Swiss railways have agreed to use a common numbering system for their locomotives and railcars.

These numbers look like German, Spanish, Czechian numbers: 000 000-0, the first group of three denotes the class, the next group of three is the serial number, and the last digit is the check digit, to check whether the number is correct.

The numbers can be extended to international numbers later, by adding a sequence such as 90 85 0 at the left.

A number of Swiss railways (mostly standard gauge, narrow gauge only SBB CFF FFS so far) have started to write new numbers on new or rebuilt locomotives and railcars. Old units are not yet renumbered, so there will still be several years until the new system is fully implemented, and both systems will coexist for some time.

1st digit

2nd digit

3rd digit

4th digit

Note: the other narrow gauge railways (except SBB CFF FFS) have not yet joined the new numbering system, but there is space for them too: if the 1st digit is 1, the 3rd and 4th digits have a different meaning.

(4th,) 5th and 6th digit

serial number, starting with 000 (SBB CFF FFS) or 001 (BLS). For renumbered old vehicles, often the last two or three digits of the old number are taken, so the new number is most similar to the old one.

7th digit

Check digit: the digits 1 to 6 are multiplied alternately by 1 and 2, the digits of the results are added, and the last digit of what comes out is subtracted from 10 (0 stays 0) - the result of this is the check digit, which is used to be sure the number is correct, thus transmission errors can be detected.
Tobias B. Köhler (ukjp@rz.uni-karlsruhe.de) - June 1994