Romania: LDH125

Also known as: LDH 1250 CP


The prototype of the series is built in 1966 at the 23 August plant in Bucharest (Romania). This locomotive is very similar in the undercarriage and bogie area to Bm 4/4 diesel locomotive of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB CFF FFS).

The first tests took place until 1967, when the series production started. By 1992, when the last unit is delivered, a total of 1453x locomotives are built.

Technical details:
- wheel arrangement: B'-B';
- length over buffers: 13700 mm;
- height over cab: 4650 mm;
- height over long hood: 3750 mm;
- distance between bogie pivots: 7200 mm;
- distance between axle centers: 2500 mm;
- weight: 70 - 72 t;
- axle loading: 17.5 - 18 t;
- fuel tank capacity: 3000 l;
- Sulzer 6LDA28B diesel engine;
- Voith TH2 hydraulic transmission;
- power: 920 kW (1250 hp);
- traction force: 231 kN;
- maximum speed: 100 km/h.

The Romanian State Railways (CFR) buy a total of 633x units, initially registered 040-DHC-001 - 663. Later on, the locomotives from this series are divided in three classes: Class 80 for standard gauge and equipped with a steam generator for passenger trains heating, Class 81 for standard gauge and without a steam generator and Class 84 for broad gauge railways in the eastern part of Romania.

476x units are acquired by Romanian industrial operators, registered from LDH125-001 to LDH125-480.

344x units are exported:
- 263x units to Bulgaria as Class 55 for the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) between 1968 and 1972;
- 42x units to Czechoslovakia as Class 748.5 between 1972 and 1983;
- 32x units to Mozambique between 1980 and 1981 (these units are slightly shorter with 13000 mm in length, a different exterior design with a long, high hood on one side and a very short hood at the other end, separated by the cab, and a different gauge size: 1067 mm);
- 3x units to Iraq in 1984;
- 2x units to China in 1971;
- 1x unit to the USA in 1974;
- 1x unit to USSR in 1991.




In 1974, unit LDH125-107 is shipped for testing to the United States.

During the unloading procedures of the locomotives from the ship, one of the 4 cables supporting it gave way. An inspired reaction of the crane operator prevented the locomotive from crashing down to the ground. Overturned at 180 degrees and twisting between the 3 remaining cables, the locomotive survived the shock and is successfully placed on the ground. Despite some serious damage, the locomotive is repaired in a timely manner and reaches Chicago as scheduled.

The locomotive is successfully tested in Atlanta, Chicago, Grand City and Chatanoga, and the Santa Fé railway company declared it competitive and equivalent to General Electric's 1,500 hp diesel-electric locomotive. Thus the Americans propose to acquire a lease for a number of 25x units with no time limit, the Romanian authorities do not approve the deal and are trying to conclude a standard contract to sell the locomotives. Unfortunately, due to the inflexibility of the Romanian authorities, in addition to the turmoil of the American political life after the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon (August 1974), the deal never materialised.

After testing ended, unit LDH125-107 is purchased by the North American Car Corporation (Chicago, Illinois) for the Washington depot, and is later sold to a company that operated the former Lehigh Valley Railroad yard in Sayre, Pennsylvania.

The locomotive is retired from service in the late 1980s.



The improving political stability in Liberia and the strong demand for iron ore led to plans to reopen the abandoned mines, and with them the railways that connected the mines to the coast. For this purpose, 2x second hand units (LDH125-195 and LDH 125-472) are reconditioned by Daxi (Belgium) and shipped to Liberia.


Latest update on the 11th of July 2020 at 21:05

Contributor(s): Tudor C.

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