Initially six locomotives were ordered, all built in Switzerland by a consortium formed of:
- the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works (SLM) in Winterthur (mainly in charge of the mechanical portions of the locomotive);
- Brown Boveri & Co in Baden (mainly in charge of the installation of the electrical equipment);
- Sulzer Brothers in Winterthur.
All six of the Swiss built locomotives underwent acceptance trials on the Swiss Federal Railways, mainly on the route from Winterthur to St Gall or Romanshorn. The first locomotive also made a trip up the northern bank of the Gotthard line as far as Goschenen. This involved a climb of 600 meters over 28.6 km. With a 66 axle freight totaling 550 tons, the locomotive was able to reach 22 km/h in 3 minutes. During another test, a 94 axle freight train of 1,066 tons was pulled by one locomotive over the 55 km route from Winterthur to Romanshorn. Under full power, 60 km/h were maintained over minor gradients near Weinfelden. The performances registered during testing were equal to or better than the paper calculations established for these new locomotives.
In Romania the locomotives pulled 550 tons freight trains from Bucharest over the Carpathians to Brasov. 2 locomotives were able to pull 1000 tons freight trains on the same route with a minimum speed of 30km/h on the climb to Predeal (the Predeal railway station is situated at 1000m, the highest point on the route from Bucharest to Brasov).
Following the delivery of these six machines a further ten were ordered, to be built in Romania, with the diesel-electric equipment supplied from Switzerland. Further orders would continue, eventually 2,404 of the design would be built, including many for various private industries within Romania, and the state railways of Poland, Bulgaria & China. The first ten built in Romania, at Electroputere Craiova with order numbers 1001 - 1010 and road numbers 060 DA 007- 016 had equipment provided from Switzerland. Orders beyond this had the power unit constructed by Masini Resita with Caromet Caransebes constructing the bogies. These initial orders were to be used on replacing steam locomotives on a variety of freight trains. Because of the excellent results from these early orders they were selected to replace the Pacific steam locomotives on the passenger routes from Bucharest to Constanta, Urziceni - Galati & Rosiori - Craiova.
The last locomotive ordered was completed in 1981, with 060 DA 1407 being allocated to Satu Mare depot.
With the CFR fleet of 060 DA locomotives just exceeding 1,400 when the last one was built, there were bound to be changes within such a large fleet. The maximum speed of the locomotive was 100 km/h but full power was only available to about 80 km/h, beyond this the useful power of the locomotive diminished. At Electroputere the traction motors were modified to allow the full power range for speeds of almost 100 km/h.
Other locomotives had their maximum speed increased to 120km/h by modifying the traction motor gear ratios (these locomotives were classified 060 DA1).
The first of the class 060 DA 001 was retired from Cluj depot in 1994, but because of its historic nature it was restored for museum display.