JNR Class D51

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Class D51
SL 20081207.jpg
JR East's D51 498 on the Joetsu Line, December 2008
Power type Steam
Designer Hideo Shima
Builder Kawasaki Heavy Industries Rolling Stock Company etc
Build date 1936-1951
Configuration 2-8-2 Mikado
Gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Length 19,730 mm (64 ft 9 in)
Locomotive weight 76.8 t[1]
Locomotive and tender
combined weight
123.0 t
Maximum speed 85 km/h (55 mph)
Tractive effort 184.3 kN
Retired 24 December 1975

The Class D51 (D51形?) is a type of 2-8-2 steam locomotive built by the Japanese Government Railways (JGR), the Japanese National Railways (JNR), and various manufacturers from 1936 to 1945.[2] The name consists of a "D" for the four sets of driving wheels and the class number 51 for tender locomotives that the numbers 50 through 99 were assigned to under the 1928 locomotive classification rule.

The design of Class D51 was based on the earlier Class D50, which was introduced in 1923. Wartime production featured some substitution of wood for steel parts like running boards, smoke deflectors and tender coal bunkers. A total of 1,115 D51 locomotives were built,[2] the largest number of locomotives in a single class in Japan. Early D51s built were known as "Namekuji type" (or "slug"). The Class D51 is popularly called "Degoichi" in Japanese.

The specially built D51s that were left on Sakhalin (formerly Karafuto) by the retreating Japanese at the end of World War II were used until 1979 by Soviet Railways. One was left outside Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk railway station, and one is in running condition and is kept at the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk railway station. Additionally two wrecks were left to the north of the city.[3]

Preserved examples[edit]

Over 170 Class D51 locomotives have been preserved in Japan. D51 498 has been restored by JR East and hauls special event trains on JR East lines.[4]

The following is a list of preserved locomotives as of September 2012.[5]


D51 200 at Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum, December 2011

Static preservation[edit]

Russian Class D51[edit]

Plinthed Russian D51-22 outside Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Railway Station Sakhalin Island, Russia
  • D51-1: Niigata Prefecture
  • D51-2: Hokkaido
  • D51-4: Sakhalin (Working order, but faces uncertain future due to re-gauging of the Sakhalin Railways to the Russian gauge)
  • D51-22: Sakhalin (Plinthed outside Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk railway station)
  • D51-23: Hokkaido
  • D51-25: Hokkaido
  • D51-26: Hokkaido
  • D51-27: Hokkaido
  • D51-28: Sakhalin (Dumped at Tomari)
  • D51 ? : Sakhalin (2 D51s Dumped north of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk at Dalny)

In fiction[edit]

In the television series Thomas & Friends, the character Hiro is based on the Class D51, and carries the number "51" on his tender.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Inoue, Kōichi (1999). 国鉄機関車辞典 [JNR Locomotive Encyclopedia]. Japan: Sankaido. p. 59. ISBN 4-381-10338-6. 
  2. ^ a b Naotaka Hirota Steam Locomotives of Japan (1972) Kodansha International Ltd. pp.74&78 ISBN 0-87011-185-X
  3. ^ Steam and the Railways of Sakhalin Island - at International Steam Locomotives
  4. ^ a b JR全車輌ハンドブック2009 [JR Rolling Stock Handbook 2009]. Japan: Neko Publishing. 2009. ISBN 978-4-7770-0836-0. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Sasada, Masahiro (September 2012). 国鉄&JR保存車大全 [JNR & JR Preserved Rolling Stock Complete Guide]. Tokyo, Japan: Ikaros Publications Ltd. p. 133-135. ISBN 978-4863206175. 
  6. ^ JR East Takasaki Branch D51 498 website (Japanese) (Translate: Google, Babelfish)