JNR Class EF66

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Class EF66
EF66 11
Builder Kawasaki Sharyō
Total produced 89
UIC classification Bo-Bo-Bo
Gauge 1,067 mm
Bogies DT133A (outer), DT134A (centre)
Wheel diameter 1,120 mm
Length 18,200 mm
Width 2,800 mm
Height 4,200 mm
Locomotive weight 100.80 tonnes
Electric system(s) 1,500 V DC
Traction motors DC motors (MT56) (x6)
Transmission Single-stage reduction gear (20:71), flexible quill drive
Top speed 110 km/h (70 mph)
Power output 3.9 MW
Tractive effort 192 kN
Railroad(s) JNR, JR West, JR Freight
Delivered 1966

The Class EF66 (EF66形?) is a 6-axle, 3-bogied (Bo-Bo-Bo) DC electric locomotive designed for fast freight used by Japanese National Railways (JNR) and currently operated by its descendents JR West and JR Freight.[1]

Background and history[edit]

EF66 901 on display, 1984
EF66 20 hauling freight cars, 1985

Originally these locomotives were designed for express freight on the Tōkaidō Main Line and Sanyō Main Line, in an attempt to counter the increasing market share being gained by road transport, by providing a fast alternative to road transport using wagons suitable for containerised freight.

The prototype (initially numbered EF90 1, later becoming EF66 901) was built by Kawasaki Sharyō in 1966; at the time with a power of 3.9 MW it was the world's most powerful narrow-gauge locomotive.[1] The EF66 901 locomotive was retired from front-line service in 1996 and since 2001 is stored at Hiroshima Depot.

The production series of locomotives were delivered from 1968, with 55 built between 1968 and 1974.[1]

Due to increased demand, JR Freight began building more EF66s in 1989 - this second batch of locomotives was classified EF66-100, with locomotive numbered EF66-101 to EF66-133.


EF66 37 original build - model shows extended roof and air conditioning

The locomotives were designed to be able to haul a 1,000-tonne train at 100 km/h. Each motor has a 650 kW power output, (about 50% more powerful than the EF65). The bogies have an air suspension system to limit the impulsive forces on the track.

Of the first series of production the last 35 (i.e. 21st to 55th locomotive) were slightly different in design, externally a few changes were made - most noticeably above the drivers window a slight 'ledge' is added. Internally, these locomotives had their auxiliary electrical supply uprated from 5 kW to 90 kW.

EF66 108 second build, December 2009

The second series of locomotives (EF66-100) are fundamentally the same design as the first, but with slightly more modern external styling. The driver's cabs are air-conditioned.


EF66 43 on Naha/Akatsuki service, June 2007

During the JNR era, these locomotives were used for freight trains and also for passenger work - primarily hauling night trains such as the Hayabusa sleeping car limited express.[2]

Following privatisation, JR Freight received the prototype (EF66 901) and forty of the original series (EF66 1 to EF66 40) as well as the EF66-100 machines. Some refurbishment of the locomotives has taken place since. JR West obtained the remainder of the machines (EF66 40 to EF66 55) - a total of 16.

As of 1 April 2009, 73 EF66s (including all 33 EF66-100s) were in service, with 63 owned by JR Freight (all based at Suita Depot in Osaka), and 10 owned by JR West (all based at Shimonoseki Depot).[3]

Preserved examples[edit]


The EF66 is available in model form in N gauge from both Kato and Tomix. An HO gauge brass model of the EF66 was made by Tenshodo, Musashino Model, and Endo, and a plastic model EF66 is made by Tomix. In Z gauge an EF66 is offered in five different colour schemes by Rokuhan

See also[edit]

Media related to JNR EF66 at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ a b c Fujii, Katsuhisa (November 1991), "国鉄最大最強力電機EF66形のすべて", Japan Railfan Magazine 31 (367): 8 et seq. 
  2. ^ EF66-100
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ The Railway Museum exhibit information Retrieved on 29 January 2009 (Japanese)
  5. ^ a b Shimizu, Kaoru (January 2011). "栄光のブルトレ牽引機EF66 45・49 新たなる任務を負って(前編)~嵯峨野への旅~" [Famous Blue Train locomotives EF66 45&49 start new duties (Part 1) The journey to Sagano]. Japan Railfan Magazine (Japan: Kōyūsha) 51 (597): p.104–107. 
  6. ^ "パン屋さんの店頭に49号機!" [Loco No. 49 in a Baker's!]. Japan Railfan Magazine (Japan: Kōyūsha Co., Ltd.) 51 (607): p.104–5. November 2011.