The V 100 was too light for heavy switching work. This was why the German Federal Railroad ordered a new class from Maschinenbau Kiel (MaK). The V 90 - designated the class 290 from 1968 on - was designed to follow closely the successful V 100 general-purpose locomotive. This was not very apparent from the outside; the V 90 was more angular than then V 100. However, inside the German Federal Railroad had proven components installed, such as the diesel motor that was used in the V 100/20 (212) and a very similar cardan shaft transmission. On August 4, 1968 the German Federal Railroad gave its approval to road number V 90 001. Twenty prototype locomotives demonstrated the quality of the design in hard daily switching work. The regular production version had only slight design changes. The German Federal Railroad had taken delivery of 387 regular production units by September 4, 1974 from MaK, Deutz, and Henschel. Procurement ceased when a more powerful variant became available in the form of the 291. Road number 290 999 was a locomotive that the German Federal Railroad leased from the military. It was purchased in 1990 and the German Federal Railroad assigned it the road number 290 408. The class 290 locomotives are still on the motive power roster providing switching service at larger yards and hauling transfer trains. However, they do not have the original class numbers. After installation of radio remote control the, DB gave them the class designation 294.