In the 1950s and early 1960s, Belgian traction policy was to procure Cockerill-engined diesels for use on lightweight duties in the flatlands of the country, and General Motors-engined diesels for use in the mountains. Particularly successful on the latter were the 42-strong class 205 (later class 55), built by BN in 1961. These were a progression from the class 202, 203 and 204 (later 52, 53 and 54) “round nose” GMs built by AFB in the mid-1950s.
In Luxembourg, things were not so complicated. It had been an early adopter of GM technology with the class 800s in 1954 and then the four-strong class 1600 the next year (ordered by SNCB, but sold to CFL prior to completion). Impressed with the 205s that immediately proved their worth, including on their own soil on the route from Liège, they very soon ordered 20 identical machines. They received these from BN in 1963/64 and they were numbered 1801 to 1820.
Above is a link to a video uploaded to YouTube by user De Bunnert showing 1815 and 1817 slogging away on a heavy freight train in 2012.
Following the collision of the last operational example, 1818, with an excavator at Sandweiler, they are now history in their home country. However, withdrawal by CFL has seen the locos dissipated across the continent.
In December 2016, 1806 returned to Luxembourg following a brief career with Power Rail GmbH based in Magdeburg, in the former East Germany. It is now officially considered a Luxembourgish national monument under the care of 1604 classics asbl. 1801 and 1817 remain with the German company; the former as a Christmas tree.
Six machines are in Denmark with CFL Cargo Danmark (1805, 1807, 1812, 1814, 1816 and 1820). Additionally, 1802 has been sold to the Swedish company Svensk Tågkraft AB, and in early 2018 it received a repaint into a striking black and red livery (photo below).
There are currently no known forthcoming passenger workings for 1800s, but 1817 does make occasional appearances on the harbourside shuttles when the Magdeburger Eisenbahnfreunde hold events, as did 1806 before its repatriation. Indeed, the two worked as a pair in 2016!