JNR Class D51

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Class D51
SL 20081207.jpg
JR East's D51 498 on the Joetsu Line, December 2008
Type and origin
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 8 34 in)
Loco weight 76.8 t (75.6 long tons; 84.7 short tons)[1]
Total weight 123.0 t (121.1 long tons; 135.6 short tons)
Performance figures
Maximum speed 85 km/h (55 mph)
Tractive effort 184.3 kN (41,400 lbf)
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 Class D51 is popularly called "Degoichi" in Japanese.


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 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]


The classification 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.

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

Built in 1938 at the JNR Hamamatsu Works, locomotive number D51 200 is scheduled to be overhauled and restored to mainline operational condition for use on SL Yamaguchi and SL Kitabiwako services from fiscal 2017.[7]

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)

South Korea[edit]

Two locomotives were built for the Korean National Railroad in 1950 by Mitsubishi. Designated Mika7 (미카7) class, they were nearly identical to JNR class D51 except for the gauge.[9]

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.

In the Transformers franchise, the Decepticon Astrotrain is depicted using a Class D51 as one of his alternate modes, the other being a space shuttle. The GoBots character of Loco is a Class D51 locomotive, and his stickers denote him as D 51 47.


  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 Hirota, Naotaka (January 1972). Steam Locomotives of Japan. Kodansha America, Inc. p. 74 & 78. ISBN 978-0870111853. 
  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. pp. 133–135. ISBN 978-4863206175. 
  6. ^ JR East Takasaki Branch D51 498 website (Japanese) (Translate to English: Google, Bing)
  7. ^ "JR西日本、D51形200号機が本線運転復活へ" [JR West to restore D51 20 to mainline operational condition]. Mynavi News (in Japanese). Japan: Mynavi Corporation. 18 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  8. ^ 津山市 来月からD51の展示始まる [D51 to go on display at Tsuyama from next month]. RSK News (in Japanese). Japan: Sanyo Broadcasting Co., Ltd. 26 February 2015. Archived from the original on 26 February 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  9. ^ http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr021.htm