Written by: TrainSim-James
Built to serve the quieter communities of Germany, the DB BR 642 upholds the high standard of comfort and reliability expected from the ‘Desiro’ family of multiple units; and, from Partner Programme developer RSSLO, it will be coming soon to Steam with advanced features aplenty!
Near the turn of the 21st Century, Deutsche Bahn were in need of a brand new fleet of diesel multiple units, that could both provide quick acceleration and braking, to improve journey times, and be accessible, and adaptable, in order to fit in with the already-thriving German railway network. DB turned to Siemens, who’s ‘Desiro Classic’ family featured many ideals that would suit the operator’s needs.
The Desiro Classic was available as either a DMU or EMU, and could consist of anything between 2 and 6 cars, to comply with their customer’s requirements. As the new German unit was destined to spend its life on quieter lines, where total electrification was not guaranteed, DB opted for a 2-car DMU variant (as did many other operators in Europe and beyond) and classified them as the DB BR 642.
Each car featured a low floor, providing step-free access from platform to train. From there, one car would be fitted with first class seating, and the other a multi-purpose area, where the W/C and wheelchair facilities were situated. Both cars shared a common bogie, this articulated design was not only safer, but reduced the overall noise and drag produced by the DB BR 642 when in motion. With a diesel engine under the floor, behind each cab, the DB BR 642 can quickly get up to its top speed of 120 km/h, and effective braking can ensure a rapid yet gentle stop, every time.
Since entering service in 2000, the DB BR 642 fleet as steadily grown to 234, and can be found darting around the smaller communities surrounding cities such as Augsburg, Dresden and Leipzig. In most cases, only a single unit is used in service, although as many as 3 can be coupled to form a 6-car set for busier times. DB wanted their BR 642s to be compatible with other manufacturer’s DMUs, however many software concerns hindered that plan, and today, the BR 642 fleet is only mechanically compatible with the DB BR 643 of Bombardier’s ‘Talent’ family.
As a modern DMU which shifts passengers, day in, day out, the DB BR 642 deserves the spotlight, and thanks to RSSLO it’s getting centre stage! ■