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BR Wagon Design Codes - E-series - Introduction - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4


The E-series of diagrams was started in about 1974 and covers all railway vehicles that are able to operate between the UK and the continent, whether they are owned by BR, private owners or foreign railway companies. The diagrams are numbered sequentially, new numbers being added as required for new build or converted wagons. The diagram numbers (prefixed with an E) are combined with the first two letters of the TOPS code to form the design code. For example, diagram E589 covered UK-registered twin-silo wagons to TOPS code PIA-J. The design code for these wagons was therefore PIE589.

The TOPS code changes of 1990 resulted in many RIV wagons changing design codes, but in most cases the diagram number remained the same. For example, when the TOPS code for the diagram E589 twin-silo wagons mentioned above was changed from PIA-J to KKA-J, the design code changed from PIE589 to KKE589.

Diagrams E001 to E378 were transferred from the preceding SFV (Special Ferry Vehicles) book, while the E382 to E422 range was for diagrams from the earlier 'C' book.

Following the 2008 decision to use RIV numbers for all future new-build and converted wagons in the UK, there was something of a surge in the issuing of E-series diagrams. However, it seems to have soon been realised that wagons which will only ever be used within the UK do not need E-series diagrams, even if they have "international" numbers. This took place in 2010, and first applied to the new HLA hoppers with international numbers 82.70.6956.000 to 011 but domestic design code HL003A.

As at spring 2013, the highest code known to have been allocated was E969. What will happen after E999 is issued is not yet known!

I was not aware of any complete listing of E-series diagrams, so I decided to try and make my own. These are presented in tabular form here but please note that the data is far from complete. More information will be added soon.

It should be mentioned that "international" articulated or permanently-coupled sets of wagons are normally treated as single items and have a single design code and diagram number. This differs from UK domestic practice, where each item would have its own number and codes.


The data is split across four tables, each covering up to 250 diagrams. The first column in each table shows the E-series diagram number. The second shows the design code, while the third shows the TOPS code. Column 4 is for the UIC code. These are similar to TOPS codes in that they given information about the characteristics of the wagon. An article on these may be added in the future. For now, an internet search should turn up some sources that provide a breakdown of the codes.


The fifth column in each table shows the number range/s relevant to each diagram number. It should be noted that not all numbers may have been to the diagram shown at the same time. An r after the numbers indicates that not the whole range of numbers was applicable.


Details of several hundred diagrams have been added already, with more planned to be done over the next few months. It is likely that not every single diagram number will have information. Some were issued to cover fairly minor modifications and some were very short-lived.

Sources of information

The final column in each table shows the source of the information. Diagram books covering the range E001 to E659 have been published by the Barrowmore Model Railway Group (see resources page for a link) and these are shown as "BMRG Diagram Book". Other sources include "Rail" and "Rail Express" magazines (issue numbers will be given) and various wagon number books.

Tiphook hopper 33.70.6905.001-7 was built as a PIA-X to diagram E700, design code PIE700. With the TOPS recoding of 1990, this was changed to KPE700, while the wagon was later modified with reduced-height ends to new design code KPE801.

Tiphook hopper 83.70.6905.129-5 was built as a PIA-X to diagram E702, design code PIE702, changed in 1990 to KPE702. This particular wagon was later rebuilt as JJA Autoballaster GERS12961.

Diagrams E791 and E792 applied to a batch of IPA-X 2-unit double-deck car carriers registered for UK use in 1993 (sources differ as to when they were actually built). The E792 wagons were fitted with protective side screens, like 23.87.4392.692-1 seen here.

50 of the diagram E791/E792 wagons were modified in 2001 with two new centre units inserted. As IPA-V 4-unit wagons they were renumbered and given new diagram E893. 23.87.4375.004-0 shown here had outer units from 23.87.4392.557-6.

IPA-A single-deck car carrier 43.87.4333.045-0 was allocated diagram E825. Some of this batch were later converted to covered 4-unit wagons under new diagram E919.

Similar 43.87.4333.060-9 was one of several diagram E825 wagons fitted with side stanchions under revised code IPE932. The stanchions originally had protective netting applied.

Megafret twin-set 33.68.4909.393-3 was built as an IFA-J to diagram E861. For operational purposes it was decided to change the TOPS code to IKA-J in 2000. Unusually, a new diagram number (E887) was also issued and these are now therefore to design code IKE887.

Although destined for use only within the UK, the IIA-B hoppers such as 37.70.6955.153-1 were given design code IIE940 to go with their "international" numbers. They also carry their UIC code (Fabfnoos).

The HLA hoppers built for DB Schenker in 2010 have RIV wagon numbers and also carry their UIC code (Fabfnps). However, they were the first wagons with RIV numbers to not be given E-series diagrams, having "domestic" design codes HL003A instead.

Page added: 01/05/2013 Spotted an error? Got some additional info?
Please e-mail me at tom (at)
Last edited: 01/05/2013