Introduced on Tōkaidō Line passenger services, they were seen at the head of expresses such as the Tsubame, complete with train headboard mounted precariously on the front of the cab decks. With the introduction of the newer semi-streamlined EF58s on Tōkaidō Line services, the EF57s were transferred to the Tōhoku Main Line. At the same time, their steam-heating boilers were removed and replaced by electric-heating generators.
An N gauge model of the EF57 was made by Micro Ace in 2000 (A1503, EF57-5), and the same loco was included in the 10/43 series Hakkōda express set (A1560) released in 2006, albeit in the later electric heat style (with cabside indicator lights). The Kato catalogue also includes an N-gauge EF57 model (#3003), although this is no longer in production. In the 1970s, Endo produced a brass model EF57 in N gauge, but it is also out of production. An HO-gauge model of the EF57 was made by Tenshodo and Sango.