The DR 130 Diesel Locomotive Family

The DR 130 Diesel Locomotive Family

By Roger Heid


The DR 130 family of locomotives comprises the DR Class 130 (DBAG Class 230), DR Class 131 (DBAG Class 231), DR Class 132(DBAG Class 232 as well as Classes 233, 234 and 241 produced through modifications) and DR Class 142 (DBAG Class 242).


These locomotives were built in the USSR by Luhansk in the Ukraine. Between 1970 and 1982 more than 700 samples were built. The exact number is unknown. They were nicknamed ‘Ludmilla’.

During the sixties, the East German government decided to focus heavily on Diesel traction. However, due to certain imposed guidelines, East Germany was forced to stop building any Diesel Hydraulic locomotives. Therefore it was necessary to import these locomotives from the USSR.

At first, there were some difficulties. The DR 130 was rated at about 85 mph. Since it had no heating feature, it was unsuitable for passenger service. For freight service it was geared too high, thus lacking the needed traction power. To meet the demand, Luhansk then introduced the DR 131. It was properly geared for freight duty, but the top speed was reduced to about 62 mph.

Finally, in 1972, an electric heating system was added, and the DR 132 was introduced, once again rated at 85 mph top speed. But due to the poor track conditions in East Germany, the top speed had to be reduced to 75 mph. Subsequently, the DR 132 became the backbone of Diesel traction in East Germany.


In 1977, a new model, designated DR 142, was introduced. It was more powerful than the DR 132. But due to expansion of main line electrification, such powerful Diesel locomotives were no longer in demand and production ceased after only six samples had been built.


DBAG  BR 242

After the re-unification of Germany, the DBAG took over the entire existing stock of Ludmillas. For main line Diesels, the prefix numeral was ‘2’. Ergo, the DR 130 was re-designated DBAG 230, etc.  Due to their weight, they were only used on suitable main lines, mostly for freight service. Due to their greater power, they edged out many samples of the V 160 family. But they also performed well for express passenger service on non-electrified main lines, mostly in Northern Germany.

Some of the original 132’s were improved and new models were developed and built, designated 233, 234, 241 and 242. The 230’s and 231’ were the first to be retired. As of 2009, many 232’s and their subsequent variants were still in use.

Currently, Maerklin, Trix and Roco are offering these models in their line-up. Something to think about.


Maerklin and Trix Models

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