After World War II the German Federal Railroad had to replace worn out, inefficient steam locomotives with diesel units because electrification had still not expanded very much and low fuel prices favored diesel motive power. The lightweight class 216 (former V 160) with its 1,900 horsepower, its speed of up to 120 km/h / 75 mph in high gear and up to 80 km/h / 50 mph in low gear distinguished itself from the V 200 and thereby was established as motive power on main lines. The initial tractive effort for the locomotive was 24 metric tons. With continuous tractive effort of 16 metric tons the class 216 was able to haul up to 1,200 metric tons on a 1.2% grade. Locomotive engineers also liked this locomotive because of its pleasantly low noise level.