JNR Class DD51

Class DD51

DD51 1027 in October 2007
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 Class DD51 (DD51形) is a B-2-B wheel arrangement diesel-hydraulic locomotive type operated in Japan since 1962. 649 locomotives were built between 1962 and 1978 by Kawasaki Sharyo, 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 Class 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 Hokkaido sport a livery based on the Class DF200 colour scheme, with no white stripe. These locomotives were used in pairs double-heading freight trains.

JR Hokkaido locos were all finished in the "Hokutosei" livery of blue with a gold stripe and shooting star logo. These were 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DD51 592 (now withdrawn), and now DD51 791, was repainted in the "Euroliner" livery of pale blue with dark blue stripes for use with JR Central's "Euroliner" Joyful Train set.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]


A pair of refurbished Hokkaido-based JR Freight DD51s led by D51 1152

Many of the JR Freight locomotive underwent life extension refurbishment, which included 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

Eight withdrawn JR Hokkaido Class DD51s stored at Jinyamachi Rinkai Yard in July 2016

As of 1 April 2016, excluding those locomotives operated by JR Freight, there were 17 Class DD51s still in service, with five operated by JR Hokkaido, four by JR East, and eight by JR West.[4]

Overseas operations

A number of Class DD51 locomotives have been shipped to Myanmar for use on the Myanmar Railways.[5]

As of March 2016, the status of DD51s shipped to Myanmar is as follows.[5]

Original number Manufacturer Date built Last owner Date withdrawn Date shipped MR number(s) Status
DD51 797 Hitachi November 1972 JR Freight March 2003 2004 D2D.2201 Stored out of use
DD51 823 Hitachi August 1970 JR Freight June 2005 2005 D2D.2202 Status unknown
DD51 1070 Mitsubishi February 1974 JR Freight December 2005 2005 DD.1101 Cut up May 2015
DD.1102 Stored out of use
DD51 1001 Mitsubishi October 1972 JR Freight December 2005 2005 DD.1103 Stored out of use
DD.1104 Status unknown
DD51 1006 Mitsubishi November 1972 JR Hokkaido December 2008 2012 DF.2027 Awaiting conversion
DD51 1068 Mitsubishi February 1974 JR Hokkaido December 2008 2012 DF.2012 Awaiting conversion

Conversion included re-gauging from 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) to 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) and lowering the cab roof profile.[5] Locomotives DD51 1070 and DD51 1001 were heavily rebuilt with parts from other locomotives to form four Bo-Bo wheel arrangement locomotives used for depot shunting work.[5]

Preserved examples

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


Wikimedia Commons has media related to JNR DD51.
  1. 1 2 3 Ishii, Yoshitaka (2004). DD51物語 [The DD51 Story]. Tokyo, Japan: JTB Can Books. ISBN 4-533-05661-X.
  2. 1 2 Inoue, Kōichi (1999). 国鉄機関車辞典 [JNR Locomotive Encyclopedia]. Japan: Sankaido. pp. 176–177. ISBN 4-381-10338-6.
  3. 1 2 3 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. JR気動車客車編成表 2016 [JR DMU & Coaching Stock Formations - 2016] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 22 June 2016. p. 233. ISBN 978-4-330-69016-2.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Saito, Mikio (October 2016). ミャンマーに渡ったDD51 [The DD51s shipped to Myanmar]. Japan Railfan Magazine (in Japanese). Vol. 56 no. 666. Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. p. 149-151.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
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