UIC Wagon Numbering

UIC (Union Internationale des Chemins de fer (International Union of Railways)) numbering comprises a collection of numbers on each wagon type (which is similar to locomotives and coaches), and it is known that if the 3rd & 4th digits are 74, then it is a Swedish wagon (not just SJ, but all Sweden). However, the first two numbers have a special meaning, and then so do the 5th to 8th. The 9th to 11th are the serial numbers for each wagon within the type, and the 12th is a “control” digit (that so many model manufacturers get wrong too often)! Our information is based, of course, on the Swedish railways, but much of it is international.

We are going to use an imaginary (and completely wrong) number to illustrate this feature thus; 11 22 333 3 444-5. These numbers refer to the five sections that we are going to look at in this feature.

11 oo ooo o ooo-o
The first two digits are the Exchange References (Utbytesbeteckningar); these give general operational information about the wagon that is important to the railways that they may operate upon, in terms of suitability. (Note that the translations here come from Google!) The first digit is defined thus:
0 – Non-bogie wagon that can be used jointly by the railways
1 – Bogie wagon that can be used jointly by the railways
2 – Non-bogie wagon that can NOT be used jointly by the railways
3 – Bogie wagon that can NOT be used jointly by the railways
4 – Non-bogie wagon, not RIV ((Regulation governing the reciprocal use of wagons in International Traffic))
8 – Bogie wagon, not RIV
The second digit (numbers 0-6), when joined to the first, then produces different information. However, here are some helpful notes:

– Odd numbers (1, 3, 5) have fixed gauge, the others can be changed.
– Numbers 01-06 and 11-16 are managed by Interfrigo (IF or EUR IF)
– Numbers 21-26 and 31-36 are all RIV
– For first digits beginning 4 and 8, odd second digits can go abroad by special agreement; evens can’t.
– 10, 40 & 80 are Service wagons!

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These two digits simply designate the country where the wagon is registered. Originally, this was the railway company with which the wagon was registered, but with privatisation around the world, numbers were running out, so it was changed to “country.” Therefore, 74 can apply to GreenCargo, SJ, TKAB, etc…!
10 Finland
20 Russia
21 Belarus
22 Ukraine
23 Moldova
24 Lithuania
25 Latvia
26 Estonia
27 Kazakhstan
28 Georgia
29 Uzbekistan
30 North Korea
31 Mongolia
32 Vietnam
33 China
40 Cuba
41 Albania
42 Japan
44 Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina
50 Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
51 Poland
52 Bulgaria
53 Romania
54 Czech Republic
55 Hungary
56 Slovakia
57 Azerbaijan
58 Armenia
59 Kyrgyzstan
60 Ireland
61 South Korea
62 Montenegro
65 Macedonia
66 Tajikistan
67 Turkmenistan
70 United Kingdom
71 Spain
72 Serbia
73 Greece
74 Sweden
75 Turkey
76 Norway
78 Croatia
79 Slovenia
80 Germany
81 Austria
82 Luxembourg
83 Italy
84 Netherlands
85 Switzerland
86 Denmark
87 France
88 Belgium
90 Egypt
91 Tunisia
92 Algeria
93 Morocco
94 Portugal
95 Israel
96 Iran
97 Syria
98 Lebanon
99 Iraq

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The gap between the 3rd & 4th digits (7th & 8th in the whole number), is because the 4th (8th) also forms part of the wagon’s serial number (see below). The first of these digits (here in section 3) confirms the basic wagon type, thus:
1 = G
2 = H
3 = K, O, R
4 = L, S
5 = E, T
6 = F
7 = Z
8 = I
9 = U
The second, third and fourth are the sub-category; second acting as a grouping number, third and fourth as final definition. Many are duplicated in order to cope with the number of wagons or to help identify further differences within each type! For example, 1022 through 1049 are all type “Glm” in the SJF 636.1 document that we have. All numbers 12– are Gs regardless of the last two digits within this section! Whilst we’re looking at the references to “G” wagons, an interesting note is that 1427 is “Gkklos” for the TGOJ!

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The sub-categories so far have given us all sorts of details about the many different wagon types. There would of course, be several wagons of each type, and the fourth section (three digits) is the individual serial number of the wagon; 000-999. If there is more than 1000 of a particular type, then a second category in section three would be made available, and so on. (This would normally be the single digit at the end of section 3’s number!)

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The check digit is a way of ensuring that the number is typed correctly into databases and operating systems. It is a complicated system, but with a little ingenuity, easy to follow. Each of the 11 individual numbers are multiplied alternately by 2 and 1. The numbers that make up the answers are then added together and the sum is deducted from the next 10. Simple, yes?
Take, for example, wagon 21 74 333 0 998-?
2 x 2 = 4
1 x 1 = 1
7 x 2 = 14
4 x 1 = 4
3 x 2 = 6
3 x 1 = 3
3 x 2 = 6
0 x 1 = 0
9 x 2 = 18
9 x 1 = 9
8 x 2 = 16
Add them together like this, 4+1+1+4+4+6+3+6+0+1+8+9+1+6 = 54.
The next 10 is 60, so 60-54 = 6
In order to divide the categories that make up the number, we created the number 11 22 333 3 444-5. As you will see from this example, the check digit is wrong, it should be a 3; but that would not have helped us ‘deliver’ this article!

Read our review of Swedish goods wagons in HO Scale