The class 218 constitutes the high light in the development of the DB diesel locomotive family, which includes the class V160 (later renumbered to 216), 215, 217 and 210 as well as the single unit 219. The first V160 locomotives of the initial production run were handed over to the DB in 1964. It was already recognised that the V160 with 1900 hp, a maximum speed of 120 km/h and the integral steam boiler for heating local passenger trains was often reaching its limits. Therefor the DB tested various concepts with the objective to increase performance. All higher performance locomotives were 40 cm longer for providing sufficient space for a generator.
Since in 1967 the DB had only little experience with electric train heating systems gained with V162 and V169 and a more powerful engine should be tested, Krupp redesigned the class 215s still equipped with a steam boiler, with a twelve-cylinder engine type MA 12 V 956 TB10 supplied by MAN. The design of the class 218 was conducted at the same time. The first production run as well as part of the second were initially equipped with the same power plant as the class 215 and with a generator for electric heating of passenger trains. 44 locomotives of the second production run were equipped with the MTU MA 12 V 956 TB11 powerplant tuned to 2800 hp. Commencing in 1971 the 398 units of class 218 locomotives with a maximum speed of 140 km/h were deployed in passenger and freight service on all non-electrified mainlines of the then DB. Today, the latest production models of the class 218 are more than 40 years old but are still appreciated as reliable locomotives. The 218 217 with its unusual silver-red / fawn livery represents an exotic example of DB design.
Originally it was intended to apply this livery according to the TEE livery for hauling TEE trains without colour deviation on non-electrified mainlines. Because the DB had decided at time of delivery that all trains should be repainted in the ocean blue-ivory livery, it was decided to keep that single example but paint all others in the new livery. The 218 217 was particularly popular with photographers just like the ten units painted in pure orange / pebble grey livery for the “CityBahn” service between Cologne and Meinerzhagen as from 1984.
In remembrance of these times 218 137 was repainted in “CityBahn” livery in 2012.
Metal body and chassis
Open-worked fan grills on the roof, etched catwalk grating
Multi-part bogie sides with real steel springs
Separately applied grab bars and step treads
NEM shaft with short coupling mechanism
Five-pole ESU motor with two flywheels
Drive mechanism via Cardan shaft and worm gear to three axles, two traction tires
LokSound 5 decoder supporting DCC-, Motorola ®-, M4- and Selectrix mode
Automatic registration at command stations supporting RailComPlus®- or mfx functionality
PowerPack storage capacitor for uninterrupted power supply
Speaker with large sound chamber for extremely high sound enjoyment
Universal electronics with plug-in pick-up shoe and slide switch for changing between two-rail and three-rail mode
Smoke generator is synchronised to LokSound
Digitalised original sounds of a class 218
Sensor controlled wheel squeal in curves at low speed
Directional lighting, headlights can be turned off (when coupled to a consist), shunting mode lighting, driver´s cab lighting and control panel lighting
Braking sparks when slowing down rapidly
Pipette for filling the smoke generator as well as a second coupler are provided
Minimum radius = 360 mm
Length over buffers = 188.5 mm