JNR Class D51
Soviet Railways D51
Taiwan Railways DT650
Manila Railroad 300 class (1951)
KNR Mika7 (미카7)
JR East's D51 498 on the Jōetsu Line in December 2008
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerHideo Shima
BuilderKawasaki Heavy Industries Rolling Stock Company
Kisha Seizo
Nippon Sharyo
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Build date1936-1951
Total produced1115 (Japan)
37 (Taiwan)
10 (Philippines)
2 (Korea)
Gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) (KNR Mika7)
Length19,730 mm (64 ft 8+34 in)
Loco weight76.8 t (75.6 long tons; 84.7 short tons)[1]
Total weight123.0 t (121.1 long tons; 135.6 short tons)
Performance figures
Maximum speed85 km/h (55 mph)
Tractive effort184.3 kN (41,400 lbf)
NumbersJNR : D51 1-D954,D51 1001-1161 (Japan) TRA : DT651-687 (Taiwan) Soviet Railways : D51-1-D51-30 (Soviet Union) KNR : 1701-1702 (Korea) Manila Railroad : 300-309 (Philippines)
Retired1956 (Philippines)
1965 (Korea)
1975 (Japan)
1979 (Soviet Union)
1983 (Taiwan)
Disposition174 preserved, five operational, 6 converted into JNR Class D61 (Japan)
Nine preserved, two dumped (Russia)
Four preserved (Taiwan)

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 Kawasaki Heavy Industries Rolling Stock Company, Kisha Seizo, Hitachi, Nippon Sharyo, Mitsubishi, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries from 1936 to 1945 and 1950 to 1951.

Design and operation

The design of class D51 was based on the earlier D50, 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 D51s were built,[2] the largest number in any single class of locomotive in Japan. Early D51s were nicknamed Namekuji-gata ("slug-form") for their shape. The locomotive was designed by Hideo Shima. It was used mainly in freight service through the 1960s. Some D51s were fitted with the Giesl ejector in Hokkaido to conserve on fuel.[3]

Service outside Japan

Soviet Railways D51

The 30 specially built D51s that were left on Sakhalin (formerly Karafuto) by the retreating Japanese at the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and after the Soviet-Japanese War (1945), were used from 1945 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.[4]

Korean National Railways Mika7

Two locomotives were built for the Korean National Railroad in 1950 by Mitsubishi for South Korea during the Korean War. Designated Mika7 (미카7) class, they were nearly identical to JNR class D51 except for the gauge.[5]

Manila Railroad 300 class (1951)

According to the a journal published in 1956, ten locomotives were built by Nippon Sharyo for the Manila Railroad Company. These entered service in 1951. Numbered the 300 class, they were named after the cog locomotive class built in the 1910s for the Manila Railway. These locomotives differed from the rest of the D51 builds through the lack of smoke deflectors.[6]

The locomotives had a short service life in the Philippines as Manila Railroad ordered the dieselization of its entire network, having all steam locomotives retired by 1956.[7]

Taiwan Railways Administration DT650

DT668 on a trial run in Taiwan in November 2011

From 1936 to 1944, Kawasaki, Kisha Seizō and Hitachi had built 32 D51s for Imperial Taiwan Railway. After World War II, they were taken over by Taiwan Railways Administration, and were classified DT650. In 1951, Kisha Seizō built three DT650s and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries built two DT650s for Taiwan Railways Administration.[8]


Main article: Japan Railways locomotive numbering and classification

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

Over 173 Class D51 locomotives are preserved in Japan. D51 498 was restored by JR East and pulls special-event trains on JR East lines.[9]

The following is a list of preserved locomotives as of July 2023.[10]


D51 200 at the Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum in December 2011

Built in 1938 at the JNR Hamamatsu Works, locomotive number D51 200 has been overhauled and restored to operational condition for use as SL Yamaguchi and SL Kitabiwako starting in 2017.[12]

Static preservation

Russian Class D51

Plinthed Russian D51-22 outside Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Railway Station Sakhalin Island, Russia

Taiwan Railways Administration DT650

DT675(Former DT670)


  1. ^ Inoue, Kōichi (1999). 国鉄機関車辞典 [JNR Locomotive Encyclopedia]. Japan: Sankaido. p. 59. ISBN 4-381-10338-6.
  2. ^ Hirota, Naotaka (January 1972). Steam Locomotives of Japan. Kodansha America, Inc. p. 74 & 78. ISBN 978-0870111853.
  3. ^ Japan Railway Journal, Kyoto Railway Museum: The Story of Rail Transport in Japan. Japan Railway Journal. Japan: NHK World-Japan. 2016. Event occurs at 10:14.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Steam and the Railways of Sakhalin Island - at International Steam Locomotives
  5. ^ "Korean National RR Mika-7 2-8-2". Don's Rail Photos. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ Locomotive Engineers Journal. Vol. 90. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. 1956.
  7. ^ "The Passing of the Steam Engine". This Week. August 12, 1956. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  8. ^ "DT650 class". Kurogane No Michi. Archived from the original on January 3, 2020.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ JR East Takasaki Branch D51 498 website (in Japanese) (Translate to English: Google, Bing, Yandex)
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Южно-Сахалинск - Томари. Вид из окна поезда, retrieved 2022-07-08

See also