The UIC numbering scheme

The UIC and OSShD with the regulations of freight (RIV) and passenger (RIC) cars have a numbering scheme with a unique 12 digit number for each car, containing various informations about the car. I have made this list from various unofficial sources, the UIC also gives out an official list, but they take a prohibitive price for it. Thanks to all contributors, send additions and corrections to me, Tobias Köhler (

The numbers on freight cars look like this:

31 80 472-3 011-1
Often they are written vertically:

31 RIV
85 CH - SBB
537 6 111-1

On passenger cars they look like follows:

52 20 70-80 476-3

Since 2006 the 12-digit numbers are also used for motorized stock:

9181 1216 141-2 (this is ÖBB locomotive 1216 141)

You find the numbers at both sidewalls of the cars and locomotives. Now, what do they mean?

A. Digits 1 and 2: type of car and international utilization modus

B. Digits 3 and 4: country (freight/passenger)
In 2005 the numbering was changed from a company code to a country code, now that many private operators run in most European countries. The country code is normally the same as the number the national operator had before. In the list below this company is shown between brackets. When written vertically, the country number is followed by the country letters, a dash, and the abbreviation of the operating company.

For motorized railway stock, digits 5-8 form the class number and digits 9-11 the serial number. There are no rules (yet) how these should be used.

(for passenger cars, continue section F)
C. Digits 5 and 6: Type of car (freight)

D. Digit 7: denotes sub-types of the above (freight)
I have no detailed information about this.
E. Digit 8-11: serial number (freight)
Counted from 0 000 or 0 001 up to 9 999. Sometimes the 8th digit is used to identify sub-types.

(for freight cars, continue section I)

F. Digits 5 and 6: Type of car (passenger)

G. Digits 7 and 8: Speed and heating (passenger)

H. Digits 9 to 11: serial number (passenger)
Counted from 000 or 001 up to 999. If there are more than 1000 cars of one type, the 8th digit is changed too (note that some speed/heating configu- rations take up several numbers).
I. Digit 12: redundancy check digit
Multiply the digits 1 to 11 alternately by 2 and 1 and add the digits of the results. Subtract the last digit of the resulting number from 10 and take the last digit of what comes out: this is the control digit.
Tobias Köhler (