Railcar class 642 or Desiro Classic from Siemens Mobility

Desiro Classic - the railcar for local traffic

The railcar class 642, also known as Desiro, is a commuter railcar manufactured by Siemens Mobility railcar from the Siemens-Desiro family. The Desiro is mainly used in mass transit in the German states of Bavaria, Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Thuringia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Saarland.

Details of railcar class 642

Manufacturer: Siemens Mobility
(formerly Siemens Transportation Systems)
Length: 41,700 mm
Width:2830 mm
Numbering: DB:

642 001-149, 156-238;
501-649, 656-738


VT 01A/B - 26A/B
Weight: 68 t
Years of construction: 1999 - 2010
Top speed: 120 km/h
Drive: diesel mechanical
Traction engines:2x six-cylinder diesel engines
from MTU and MAN
Power:2x 275 kW, optional 2x 360 kW
Number: 320
Axle formula: B'2'B'
Seats: 1st class (if any): 12;
2nd class: minimum 98
Standing room: 110
Interestng facts
The Desiro belongs to the B'2'B' design. It has two bogies coupled together for drive, with two running axles united in a movable bogie, and two wheel sets coupled together each.

More Iinterestng facts

Applications of the railcar class 642 in Germany

Liesel 28-11-10 642 055-8 im Bahnhof Scharfenstein / Railcar Class 642Delivery of the Desiro began in 2000 and since then the combustion railcars (VT) have been in service in the metropolitan areas of Nuremberg, Augsburg and Kempten as well as in Dresden, Zwickau, Erfurt, Kaiserslautern, Leipzig, Chemnitz and Rostock, among others. The new railcars will only be used on some secondary lines in Bavaria and Saxony. Here the advantages of modern vehicles are used, e.g. the high acceleration and the possibility of creating demand stops.

An example is the line of the Gräfenbergbahn from Nuremberg Northeast station (underground connection to the city centre) to Gräfenberg. On the Müglitztalbahn, which is a topographically difficult line, new vehicles have made it possible to reduce travel time and increase passenger numbers.

The Desiro (railcar class 642) is used on the following regional rail and regional express lines. Telweise even in multiple unit operation.


RB 91: Cultural Train Berlin-Cottbus-Wroclaw


RB 4: Korbach – Volkmarsen – Wolfhagen – Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe
RB 21: Wiesbaden – Limburg
RB 34: Frankfurt – Glauburg-Stockheim
RB 39: Kassel main station – Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe – Wabern – Bad Wildungen
RB 42: Marburg – Frankenberg – Korbach – Brilon
RB 56: Hanau – Kahl am Main – Alzenau – cribs
RB 61: Dreieich book cover – Rödermark-Ober Roden – Dieburg
RB 94: Marburg – Biedenkopf – Bad Laasphe (- Erndtebrück)


RB 11: Wismar – Bad Doberan – Rostock – Tessin
RB 12: Bad Doberan – Rostock – Graal-Müritz
RB 25: Velgast – Barth

in the Central/Southwest region

RE 6: Karlsruhe – Landau (Palatinate) – Neustadt (wine route) – Kaiserslautern
RB 51: Karlsruhe – Landau (Palatinate) – Neustadt (wine route)
RB 54: Winches (Palatinate) – Bad Bergzabern
RB 55: Landau (Pfalz) – Annweiler – Pirmasens
RB 64: Kaiserslautern – Pirmasens
RB 65: Kaiserslautern – Rockenhausen – Bad Münster am Stein – Bad Kreuznach – Bingen (Rhine) Central Station
RB 68: Pirmasens – Zweibrücken – Saint Ingbert – Saarbrücken
RB 77: Dillingen (Saar) – Hemmersdorf – Niedaltdorf


OE 60V: Görlitz – Bischofswerda
RB 65: Zittau – Görlitz – Cottbus
TLX 1, TL 60: Dresden – Görlitz
TLX 2, TL 61: Dresden – Zittau (– Liberec)
U 28: Bad Schandau – Schöna – Decin hl.n
RB 80: Chemnitz – Cranzahl
RB 81: Chemnitz – Olbernhau-Grünthal
RB 95: Zwickau – Johanngeorgenstadt


RB 55: Lutherstadt Wittenberg – Bad Schmiedeberg – Bad Düben – Eilenburg


RE 2: Erfurt main station – Bad Langensalza – Leinefelde – Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe
RE 55, 56: Nordhausen – Erfurt main station

Since March 2009, the Desiro Classic has been operating daily between Dresden Central Station and Wroclaw Glowny (Wroclaw Central Station) with three pairs of trains. Between Görlitz and Breslau often in double traction. The railcars on this line were modernised for operation on the Polish network.

Since December 2008, the Desiro trains have also been operating on the Westpfalz network. Due to the high station density and the tight timetable, the vehicles were equipped with more powerful engines and steps on the doors. In addition, they received a new interior design. Some vehicles were given, by means of “train baptism”, city and place names with coats of arms.

The railcar class 642 has also been in service in the Southern Palatinate network since December 2010. Some of the railcars have been parked due to line closures and reallocations as well as lack of demand.

The following railway companies have the railcar class 642 (Desiro Classic) in stock

The railcar class 642 in other countries

The Desiro Classic or railcar class 642 also operates in the following countries in various versions and with different equipment features.

BulgariaBDZ series 1025
BDZ series 3025
DenmarkDSB MQ28
GreeceOSE series 46020
OSE series 6608
AustriaÖBB 502260
RomaniaCFR series 96120
SloveniaSZ series 31230
HungaryMAV series 634231
USANCTD Sprinter12

Passenger compartment and technology of the railcar class 642

The passenger compartment of the Desiro is divided into the low-floor area (starting at the entrance to the seating area above the Jacob bogies) and the higher areas at the end of the car. The low-floor area is smaller than in other comparable multiple units due to the comparatively larger engine compartment. The boarding and transition areas are separated by glass walls and doors. The walls are made of plastic, partly of wood. The railcar class 642 is available with different seat distributions. The original version has 98 seats in 2nd class and 12 seats in 1st class. In the low-floor entrance area, the trains have folding seats on the wall, which provide space for bicycles, wheelchairs or prams. On the Kahlgrundbahn there are trains without 1st class.

Above the seats, there is a continuous glass luggage rack with an illuminated strip and a stop request button for each seating group. Display panels at the front and sides show the destination, sometimes also the intermediate stops, for waiting passengers on the platform. The toilet is handicapped accessible and can be reached with a wide sliding door in the low-floor area and is designed as a closed system. A passenger intercom system to the driver is located in the boarding areas.

The passenger compartment is heated by a hot water circulating air heating system, in case of extreme cold by oil firing. In summer the temperature is regulated by air conditioning. However, the air conditioning systems are still prone to malfunction.

The wide entrances are stepless and have swinging and sliding doors. Recycling bins are installed next to the stairs at the transition to the normal height passenger compartment and extendable ash trays under every seat, except folding seats. On DB Regio vehicles, the ash trays have been partially removed.

The car body is designed as a self-supporting aluminium tube in integral construction. The headboards with the driver’s cabs are GRP modules which are glued to the extended underframe of the aluminium car body.

The railcar class 642 (Desiro) is driven by two diesel engines from the manufacturers MTU or MAN. The following power ratings are available.

275 kW / 374 HP
315 kW / 428 HP
335 kW / 455 HP
360 kW / 490 HP

The engines are located below the high-floor area between the driven bogie and the low-floor area. The trains are equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission with starting converter and integrated retarder, which transmit the torque to the outer bogie.

An electro-pneumatic brake and an indirect multi-release pneumatic brake are installed in the railcars. In addition, the motor bogies were equipped with magnetic rail brakes. In combination with the retarder and the ep-brake, hydrodynamic braking is also possible. Furthermore, a spring-loaded brake is installed as parking brake. The magnetic brake is used for forced and rapid braking, but not for emergency braking. It can be switched on by the driver via a toggle switch.

The trains are equipped with Scharfenberg couplers with contact attachments as pulling and pushing devices. This coupler also allows towing of other series. The so-called winging, the combined guidance of two trains with different running paths, is thus made considerably easier.

Further equipment of the trains includes the matrix train destination display mounted on the front, a ticket machine in the multi-purpose compartment, sliding steps (only installed in some trains) and a video surveillance system.

The railcar class 642 as a hybrid multiple unit

In 2011/2012, the 642 129 multiple unit train was equipped as a prototype with a hybrid drive. The diesel motor coaches were replaced by two PowerPacks designed as parallel hybrids, and lithium-iron-phosphate accumulators were installed on the roof of the vehicle to store the braking current.

The PowerPacks consist of a diesel engine with 315 kW / 428 PS and an electric machine that can be used as a generator or motor. The continuous output of the machine is 200 kW / 272 PS (peak output 400 kW / 544 PS for 60 sec.) The batteries have a capacity of 4.7 kWh. By using the hybrid drive, energy savings of up to 25 % should be possible. In addition, a quieter driving, over certain distances, is made possible.

The conventional air conditioning system was replaced by a CO2 air conditioning system with electric drive. This should improve the economy of the vehicle by another 10 %.

The vehicle was presented at InnoTrans in 2012. The vehicle was never used. Based on the findings of the hybrid Desiro, another vehicle for the Erzgebirge Railway was converted as part of the “EcoTrain” project.

The Hybrid VT 642 has never been used regularly to date.

The conversions of the railcar class 642 (Desiro)

Since 2017, 35 railcars of the Westfrankenbahn have been modernised. The modernization includes increasing the power output from 275 kW to 315 kW by means of chip tuning. Furthermore, sliding steps are installed and the trains are equipped with WLan and passenger information systems.