JNR Class DD51

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JNR DD51 1027 20071003.jpg
DD51 1027
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-hydraulic
Builder Hitachi, Kawasaki, Mitsubishi
Build date 1962 - 1978
UIC class B-2-B
Gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Wheel diameter 860 mm
Length 18,000 mm
Width 2,951 mm - 2,971 mm[1]
Height 3,956 mm
Loco weight 84 tonnes
Transmission Hydraulic
Performance figures
Maximum speed 95 kilometres per hour (60 mph)
Power output 2,200 hp
Operators JNR, JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Central, JR West, JR Freight
Number in class 649[1]
Disposition Operational

The DD51 is a class of Japanese B-2-B wheel arrangement diesel-hydraulic locomotives. 649 locomotives were built between 1962 and 1978 by Kawasaki Sharyō, Hitachi, and Mitsubishi. The class was designed for mainline passenger and freight use with more power than the D51 and a higher maximum speed than the C62 steam locomotive classes. This was achieved by installing two 1,100 hp engines in an 18 metre long centre-cab design, unusual for mainline operation. The V12 DML61 engines were developed from the 6-cylinder inline DMF31 engines used in the DD13 locomotives.[2]


Locos numbered from DD51 501 to 799 and from 1001 to 1186 were equipped to operate in multiple, and locos numbered DD51 800 to 899 and 1801 to 1805 were built without steam generators for train heating.[2]


All locomotives numbered from DD51 2 onwards were finished in the standard diesel livery of orange/red with grey upper surfaces separated by a white stripe. Re-engined locos operated by JR Freight in Hokkaidō sport a livery based on the DF200 colour scheme, with no white stripe. These locomotives are frequently used in pairs double-heading freight trains.

JR Hokkaidō locos are all finished in the "Hokutosei" livery of blue with a gold stripe and shooting star logo. These are used in pairs for hauling sleeper trains (Hokutosei, Cassiopeia, and Twilight Express) between Hakodate and Sapporo.[3]

DD51 592 (now withdrawn), and now DD51 791, was repainted in the "Euroliner" livery of pale blue with dark blue stripes for use with JR Central's "Euroliner" Joyful Train set.

DD51 842 was designated as the Imperial Train locomotive. Whereas regular members of the class have white handrails and edges to the running boards, they are polished stainless steel on this particular locomotive, as are the exhaust shrouds. Based at Takasaki Depot, it is also used for special excursion trains.[3]


Hokkaido-based JR Freight DD51 1152

As of April 2003, there were 138 DD51s still in service, with the vast majority operated by JR Freight. Of these, many have recently undergone life extension refurbishment, which includes removal of steam generator equipment where still fitted. These locos are distinguished by a new livery of blue with grey upper surfaces separated by a white stripe, and cream end panels.

DD51 class locomotives also formed the basis for the DD17, DD18, and DD19 self-propelled snow plough units.[3]

Fleet allocation[edit]

As of 1 April 2009 the DD51 fleet was as follows.[4]

Preserved examples[edit]

As of April 2016, seven class DD51 locomotives are preserved:

The prototype, DD51 1, with its unique, more rounded appearance, was moved to the Usui Pass Railway Heritage Park in April 1998 and repainted in its original livery of brown with white lining. This locomotive was withdrawn March 1986, and was subsequently stored at Takasaki Depot from March 1987.[1]

See also[edit]


  • "Tetsudō Zukan" (Railway Picture Book) JR & JNR Edition, Ikaros Publishing 1998
  1. ^ a b c Ishii, Yoshitaka (2004). DD51物語 [The DD51 Story]. Tokyo, Japan: JTB Can Books. ISBN 4-533-05661-X. 
  2. ^ a b Inoue, Kōichi (1999). 国鉄機関車辞典 [JNR Locomotive Encyclopedia]. Japan: Sankaido. pp. 176–177. ISBN 4-381-10338-6. 
  3. ^ a b c JR全車輌ハンドブック2006 [JR Rolling Stock Handbook 2006]. Japan: Neko Publishing. 2006. ISBN 4-7770-0453-8. 
  4. ^ Japan Railfan Magazine: July 2009 issue
  5. ^ a b c d e Sasada, Masahiro (25 November 2014). 国鉄&JR保存車大全2015-2016 [JNR & JR Preserved Rolling Stock Complete Guide 2015-2016] (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Ikaros Publications Ltd. p. 123. ISBN 978-4863209282. 
  6. ^ 京都鉄道博物館 [Kyoto Railway Museum]. Japan Railfan Magazine (in Japanese). Vol. 56 no. 662 (Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd.). June 2016. p. 4852-53. 
  7. ^ Shibata, Togo (February 2016). 2016年「津山まなびの鉄道館」としてリニューアルオープン [Reopening in 2016 as "Tsuyama Railroad Educational Museum!]. Tetsudō Daiya Jōhō Magazine (in Japanese). Vol. 45 no. 382 (Japan: Kōtsū Shimbun). p. 46-47.